Act Changes

Changes to Teacher Registration in Western Australia effective 19 December 2023

This page has been developed to provide an overview of the key changes that are important for teachers, employers and other stakeholders to know.

The changes came into effect on 19 December 2023, and strengthened the regulation of the teaching profession in Western Australia (WA), supporting teachers to demonstrate their high standards of professionalism to the community through registration and a responsive regulatory approach that upholds professional standards and operates in the best interests of children.

An Information Sheet and short video summarising the key changes are also available.

Legislation changes

The Teacher Registration Board of Western Australia (TRBWA) is the body responsible for the registration of teachers in WA. It registers all teachers, from early childhood to Year 12, who teach in a WA educational institution.  The TRBWA is also responsible for the accreditation of initial teacher education programs in WA.

The TRBWA performs its functions in accordance with the Teacher Registration Act 2012 (Act), the Teacher Registration (General) Regulations 2012, and the Teacher Registration (Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programmes) Regulations 2012  (Regulations).

The Act and Regulations, along with relevant Board policies, changed on 19 December 2023, following a Review of the Act.

Why were changes needed?

The Review of the Act was undertaken to consider the operation and effectiveness of the TRBWA. The review identified some changes needed to the current legislation to achieve the following:

  • Strengthen the powers of the TRBWA to respond to matters of child safety involving teachers, consistent with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Ensure an effective registration system that allows teachers to move between registration categories and improve fairness for teachers returning after an absence.
  • Allow WA to participate to a greater degree in the Australian Teacher Workforce Data Strategy, providing a clearer picture of the national teacher workforce. 
  • Promote a skilled teaching workforce.

Changes to Non Practising Registration

From 19 December 2023, teachers holding Non-Practising Registration are required to change their category of registration before they commence teaching. 

Teachers holding Non-Practising Registration are no longer be able to teach from 19 December 2023, aligning this category with other states and territories, reducing confusion for teachers, employers, and other stakeholders.  Teachers holding Non-Practising Registration still appear on the Register of Teachers, but they are not permitted to teach as a registered teacher in any WA school or early childhood service.

Information outlining the changes to Non-Practising Registration is provided below.  

Non-Practising Registration      

Legislation to
18 December 2023

Legislation from
19 December 2023

T  eachers holding Non-Practising Registration

Can teach by submitting a Notice of Teaching Form to TRBWA

Are required to change their category of registration before they commence teaching, as they are unable to teach while holding this category

Options for holders of Non-Practising Registration

Can transition to Full Registration or Provisional Registration, if eligible

May be eligible for Limited Registration

Can teach when holding Non-Practising Registration by submitting a Notice of Teaching Form to TRBWA

Can remain a holder of Non-Practising Registration (will not be able to teach)

 

Can transition to Full Registration or Provisional registration, if eligible (to be able to teach)

Non-Practising Registration expiry

Non-Practising Registration expires 2 years from the day the teacher commenced teaching

If the teacher has not submitted a Notice of Teaching, Non-Practising Registration can be held indefinitely

Non-Practising Registration can be held indefinitely (subject to meeting the ongoing requirements for registration)

New applicants without any type of current teacher registration in WA

(see section below if you are an overseas qualified teacher)

Can apply for Non-Practising Registration

(Application fee applies)

Can no longer apply for Non-Practising Registration, and may wish to apply for a different category of registration

Teachers holding Limited Registration

Can apply for Non-Practising Registration

Can no longer apply for Non-Practising Registration, and may wish to apply for a different category of registration

Transitioning from another category to Non-Practising Registration

Can transition from Full Registration or Provisional Registration

No change

No fee applies

Register of Teachers

Will appear

Will appear however can no longer teach

Teachers with Non-Practising Registration are required to continue to be a fit and proper person to be registered, keep contact details up to date in Teacher Login, and continue to comply with all legal requirements for registration​​​​​, which includes paying the teacher registration annual fee.

It is acknowledged there are circumstances where a teacher may wish to maintain their Non-Practising Registration, for example, taking a break from teaching, while their name remains on the Register of Teachers.

Teachers holding Non-Practising Registration who have been taking a break from the profession and would like to return to teaching, must apply and be granted either Full Registration or Provisional Registration to be eligible for employment as a teacher, or if they have the offer of a teaching position, they may be eligible for Limited Registration.

Changes to Provisional Registration

From 19 December 2023, the category of Provisional Registration has two sub-categories:   

Provisional Registration

Sub Category

Register of Teachers

Difference

Graduate Teacher

Provisional Registration – Graduate Teacher

Teachers who completed an Australian or New Zealand accredited ITE qualification within five years of making their application*

Returning Teacher

Provisional Registration – Returning Teacher

Teachers who completed an Australian or New Zealand accredited ITE qualification greater than five years from making their application*

Overseas qualified teachers with a teaching qualification and teaching experience that the Board considers is sufficient to enable the person to hold registration as a teacher*

*Subject to assessment of application for registration

This change reflects feedback from the teaching community that a differentiation between graduate teachers, and teachers returning after an absence, was needed.

It is generally expected that a teacher holding Provisional Registration will make an application for Full Registration before their Provisional Registration expires.

Where this does not occur, the Board can agree to renew a teacher’s Provisional Registration if there are sufficient reasons for doing so.

Where the Board has agreed there are sufficient reasons, the teacher will continue to hold the same subcategory of Provisional Registration (Provisional Registration (Graduate Teacher) or Provisional Registration (Returning Teacher), as they do currently.

Changes to the Register of Teachers

From 19 December 2023, the Register of Teachers was amended to reflect the changes to the Provisional Registration category, to provide more information to users.

The category of Provisional Registration now has two sub-categories – Graduate Teacher and Returning Teacher.

At this stage, no changes have been made to how the category of Non-Practising Registration appears on the Register of Teachers. 

Only teachers holding Full Registration, Provisional Registration (Graduate Teacher or Returning Teacher) or Limited Registration are eligible to teach.

What has changed for Overseas Qualified Teachers

From 19 December 2023, overseas qualified teachers seeking to apply for teacher registration in WA may be eligible for one of the following categories of registration:

Registration Category

Eligibility criteria

Description

Provisional Registration (Returning Teacher) 

  • has a teaching qualification and teaching experience that the Board considers is sufficient to enable the person to hold registration as a teacher.
  • has the necessary English language skills to teach in a WA school.
  • is a fit and proper person to be registered (provide an overseas criminal history check (OCHC) if required, and provides consent for a national criminal history check)

 Allows you to teach as a  registered teacher in any WA educational institution

Limited Registration

  • has an offer of a teaching position
  • has the required skills, expertise and/or qualification(s) for the duties of the teaching position offered
  • has the English language skills required for teachers in WA
  • is a fit and proper person to be registered (provide an overseas criminal history check (OCHC) if required, and provides consent for a national criminal history check)

Allows you to teach in WA subject to an employer or school making an application for registration on your behalf.


Changes to Qualification requirements

From 19 December 2023, teaching experience is able to be considered as part of the qualification requirement for registration, giving teachers greater capacity to demonstrate their relevant skills and experience when applying for registration.

Have fees changed?

As a result of the changes that came into effect on 19 December 2023 following the commencement of the Teacher Registration Amendment Act 2023, most fees associated with the scheme of teacher registration are unchanged, with the following exceptions:

  • Limited Registration applications now all have a single application fee, and the previous higher fee for teachers with overseas qualifications has been removed.
  • Educational institutions no longer have to submit a new application for Limited Registration in order to modify a condition of registration, and will instead pay a lower fee of $56 for a modification application.
  • Where additional educational institutions apply for Limited Registration for the same teacher within 12 months of the initial Limited Registration application, there is no fee applicable.
  • A fee of $56 will apply to applications to change category (with the exception of changes of category to Non-Practising Registration).

The Schedule of Fees has been updated to reflect the fee changes.

Changes to Definitions

From 19 December 2023, some definitions that appear in our policies and information have been updated, and new definitions added, reducing confusion and improving clarity.

Educational Institution

The term ‘educational venue’ has been replaced with ‘educational institution’ to recognise teaching can occur off-site or online. 

Serious Misconduct and Serious Incompetence

Definitions of ‘serious misconduct’ and ‘serious incompetence’ have been added to provide greater clarity for when disciplinary action can be taken.

Impairment

The definition of ‘impairment’ has been added in line with the Equal Opportunity Act 1984.

What has changed for Employers

The amendments to the legislation affects those who employ teachers in WA.
 

Registration Categories

From 19 December 2023, teachers holding Non-Practising Registration are no longer able to teach in any WA educational institution unless they change their category of registration.

There have been some changes to Teacher Register Information (Professional) TRIP, to reflect the change to Non-Practising Registration, and the change to Provisional Registration (two new subcategories - Graduate Teacher and Returning Teacher).

Employer Obligations

The changes to the Act have impacted obligations for employers to notify the Teacher Registration Board of WA (Board) in the interests of child safety. 

From 19 December 2023, under section 42 of the Act employers are now required to give notice within 7 days if it is suspected on reasonable grounds that the teacher has engaged in serious misconduct or taught with serious incompetence AND as a result the teacher is dismissed, suspended, resigns or ceases teaching at the educational institution.

The changes have reduced the time period for an employer to provide the notice from 30 days to 7 days.

Reference to notifying the Board of an investigation has been removed to allow for quicker dissemination of relevant information and remove any confusion about when a Section 42 Notice should be submitted. As soon as an employer forms a suspicion that serious misconduct or incompetence has occurred AND the teacher is dismissed, suspended, resigns or ceases teaching at the educational institution the 7-day period commences. The reasons for forming a suspicion as well as the reasons for dismissal or suspension should be clearly explained in the notice.

A new section has been added to the Act, clarifying that there is no liability to Employers for disclosing information under Subdivision 2.

The Section 42 Notice has changed to reflect this.

In instances where the Board deems further investigation of a Section 42 Notice necessary, employers may be served with a written direction under section 48C of the Act requiring either:

  • A person to attend at a time and a place specified to answer questions, orally or in writing; and/or
  • Production of documents or other things relevant to the investigation

Non-compliance with such a direction will make a person liable to a fine of $5,000.

Forms and documents

The Section 48C Notice has replaced the Section 56 Notice previously served on employers and provides clear direction on what is required.

We have also amended our Employer Obligations Information Sheets, as well as any relevant forms we send to you as an employer.

The Board’s emergency powers

From 19 December 2023, interim disciplinary orders have become interim orders. The Board may make one of the following interim orders:

  • an order imposing, modifying or cancelling a condition or conditions on the registration of a teacher
  • an order suspending the person's registration.

As well as the change in name to interim orders, the Board may make an interim order if they believe a teacher poses a risk of harm and suspension is necessary, rather than waiting for the risk to be imminent, and even if the teacher is not currently in a teaching role. 

These changes have strengthened the powers of the Board to respond to matters of child safety involving teachers, consistent with recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. 

Changes to Investigations

From 19 December 2023 the Board’s investigation powers have been enhanced to enable it to get early information when a disciplinary matter is raised, with penalties for noncompliance.

The Board is now able to issue a written direction to a person requiring them to attend a time and a place to answer questions. This encompasses any person who may have information relevant to the investigation including respondent teachers.

It is also open to the Board to issue a written direction requiring a person to produce documents or things in their possession relevant to an investigation.

Noncompliance with a written direction issued under section 48C of the Act is an offence with a potential penalty of $5,000.

This section also creates provisions for the Board to:

  • Inspect or photograph documents or things produced.
  • Retain documents or things produced for a reasonable period.
  • Make copies or take extracts from a document or other thing produced or its contents.

Changes to Board membership

From 19 December 2023, Board membership has increased from seven to nine members to cover a wider range of skills and expertise. The members of the Board are appointed by the Minister. One member must be an Australian lawyer and at least three are to be currently registered teachers. The majority of our current Board members are currently registered teachers, employed in government, Catholic and independent schools.

Changes to the Australian Teacher Workforce Data Strategy

The Australian Teacher Workforce Data (ATWD) is a joint initiative between, and is funded by, all state, territory and Commonwealth governments.

The TRBWA supports the ATWD by providing all registered teachers in WA with the opportunity to participate in the Australian Teacher Workforce Survey, a voluntary 10-15 minute online survey, with the purpose of providing a clearer picture of the national teaching workforce, across all states, territories and sectors.  

WA, unlike other states, is not currently providing teacher registration data to the ATWD.

One of the legislative changes is the addition of a new clause, to enable the TRBWA, with the approval of the Minister, to provide any information held by the Board in relation to the teaching workforce to the ATWD. 

These changes came into effect on 19 December 2023, and provide WA with the ability to participate to a greater degree in the Australian Teacher Workforce Data Strategy, aligning us with other jurisdictions, and providing a clearer picture of the national teacher workforce. Data from the ATWD is analysed to determine trends in teacher education, the teacher workforce and teacher supply, to inform national policy on how to better support the profession. 

The ATWD complies with all relevant legislation. No personal information is included in the Australian Teacher Workforce Survey and individual teachers cannot be identified.

The TRBWA Privacy Policy and Information Security Policy are available on our Policies page.

More information

This page is a summary of the key changes, and not designed to provide the complete legislative amendments.

Here are some resources that may help you learn more.

Teacher Registration Amendment Bill 2022

Information Sheet

Changes to teacher registration in Western Australia video

If you have any questions, please email review@trb.education.wa.edu.au.

 

Page current as at 19 December 2023