'Limited Authority to Teach' Policy Appears to be Working

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education (Early Childhood Education and Maori Education)

The policy of allowing some people without teaching qualifications to teach in schools appears to be working, the Minister responsible for the Education Review Office, Brian Donnelly, said today.

Under the Education Act, the Teacher Registration Board may give a 'limited authority to teach' to people who have skills and experience that could be useful for teaching in a school or kindergarten, but who do not have specific teaching qualifications. Applicants have to be endorsed by the school or kindergarten and the TRB must ensure that they are of good character, fit to be teachers and likely to be satisfactory teachers.

"Following concern last year about the numbers of these people in schools I asked the Education Review Office to investigate the extent of the situation," Mr. Donnelly said.

"A preliminary survey at the end of last year indicates that there are only a small number of people with limited authority to teach, and most of them are teaching in specialist areas, such as languages, drama and music, or working as teacher aides or relieving teachers. Only three of them were full-time primary teachers."

"Of the 175 schools ERO reviewed in a 10 week period at the end of last year, only 2% of the teachers had limited authority to teach, and the principal or senior teacher was overseeing the work of virtually all of them."

"This is exactly the intention of the policy," Mr. Donnelly said.

"However, ERO did find several unqualified people teaching in schools that did not realise that they should have limited authority to teach".

"Schools should be aware of this requirement and make sure that they comply with the law."
ERO will continue to survey schools on this issue and report in more detail to the minister later in the year.