In August 2017, the Minister for Education called for an independent review into governance and operational frameworks of the Victorian Institute of Teaching and the Council of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (the VIT).
Ms Penny Armytage, former Secretary of the Department of Justice and Regulation, conducted the independent review with support from KPMG.
The Victorian Institute of Teaching plays an integral role in ensuring Victorian schools and early childhood services are safe places for children and young people.
It determines who can and can’t teach in our schools and dictates the professional standards of our teachers.
I commissioned an independent review of the VIT’s management, operations and governance following concerns I had that some of its decisions did not reflect community expectations.
The review, conducted by Penny Armytage and KPMG, identified serious challenges facing the regulator and inadequacies in the way it functions. Most concerning, it suggested that the VIT was not keeping pace with the community’s expectations around child safety.
The final report of the review has been handed down and the Victorian Government has responded to the 34 recommendations made.
While some recommendations may take time to implement, work will begin immediately to put them into place.
This includes improving the VIT’s registration processes by migrating to online registration and renewal and expanding the VIT’s activities to include proactively educating teachers and the community about teacher quality.
The Government will also consider the best way to reform the VIT disciplinary system, which deals with allegations of teacher misconduct or incompetence.
This is of real importance as the health, safety and wellbeing of our students remains our top priority.
The changes will be additional to recent reforms introduced by the Government to improve child safety, including the Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme.
Further to this, the McClellan Royal Commission into Institutional Reponses to Child Sexual Abuse made a number of recommendations relating to teacher registration across Australia to ensure only appropriate people can work as teachers.
We will consider each of the Royal Commission’s recommendations in full and alongside the recommendations of the VIT Review, so we can respond effectively and with urgency to protect the children in our care.
After careful consideration, I have decided not to accept two of the report’s recommendations—these are the proposals to rename the VIT to ‘Teacher Regulation Victoria’ and to consider amalgamating the VIT with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. The registration processes for teachers and schools are important and distinct functions that should be undertaken by separate authorities.
These two recommendations do not recognise the other important roles played by the VIT, including supporting and promoting the continuing education and professional development of teachers and early childhood teachers and undertaking and promoting research about learning and teaching practices.
I acknowledge the significant achievements of the VIT since its establishment—including developing a qualified, competent and committed teaching workforce and the inclusion of the regulation of early childhood educators as a function.
These significant reforms will support the VIT’s ongoing contribution in developing Victoria’s teachers as the best in the country, with a greater focus on improving child safety and wellbeing.
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