Northern Territory teachers face court, pay a total of nearly $6,000 in fines for lapses in registration

An education union is calling for the teaching registration process to be streamlined in the Northern Territory so more teachers are kept out of court and in classrooms.

Early last year, the NT’s Teacher Registration Board began prosecuting people found teaching while unregistered.

Thirteen territory teachers have since faced court, with a total of $5,950 in small fines handed to those found guilty.

The largest fine of $1,000 was for a teacher who was unregistered for six months.

The Australian Education Union acknowledged it was crucial teachers were registered.

But they said the “incredibly clunky and difficult” registration process was keeping too many qualified teachers out of the classroom amid a crippling teacher shortage.

A serious woman with purple hair and glasses sits in a room with colorful binders on shelves behind her.
Michelle Ayers says prosecution should not be the initial response.(ABC News: Dane Hirst)

“It happens over Christmas, so there’s a number of cases where people are forgetting to get their registration in time,” branch president Michelle Ayres said.

“And if you forget it, there’s a lot of work that goes into having to re-register.”

Ensuring every teacher is registered

Teacher Registration Board director Maree Garrigan said while there was “never a huge number” of unregistered teachers in the territory, there had been enough in recent years to raise concerns.

“If we look at public confidence in what we do, they would expect that every teacher in front of every student is a registered teacher,” she said.

“The fines aren’t massive, but it does send a very clear message to the profession.”

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