National Police Checks For All Student Teachers
ALL student teachers will be subjected to national police checks before
they are allowed to teach in South
The new measure, which will affect up
to 3000 student teachers, will also apply
to their supervisors as well as researchers
who enter government, independent and
Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith
said yesterday the state's three
universities and Christian tertiary institution Tabor Adelaide expected to have
the checks tor student teachers completed by mid-February.
The initiative follows the introduction of
legislation last year that requires each of
the state's 35,700 registered teachers to
undergo a police check. "When it comes
to child protection we cannot take any
chances," Dr Lomax-Smith said.
"It is imperative that we do all we can
to keep children as safe as possible from
abuse of any kind. Since 1997, police
checks have only been conducted on
teachers seeking registration to teach for
the first time, meaning that two-thirds of
teachers have never been tested.
The checks on student teachers will
mean that parents can be confident that
all people teaching in SA schools have a
If a student teacher is found to have
committed a serious crime - such as drug
trafficking, sexual abuse of children or
offences of violence - they would not be
allowed entry to a school.
"We make no apology for disallowing
those who have committed offences of a
more serious nature because the protection of children will always be our
immediate concern," Dr Lomax-Smith said.
"We are also proposing checks on all
out-of-school-hours care staff through
new regulations to be introduced to Parliament this year," Australian Education
Union state president Andrew Gohl "cautiously welcomed" the new measure-
"In the first instance, to ensure that
students in pre-schools and schools have
a safe learning environment, we need to
ensure that the people who are in front
of classes are fit and proper people and
that includes student teachers," he said.
However, while the Teachers Registration Board considers the findings of the
police checks on teachers, Mr Gohl questioned if universities were qualified to
determine what should happen to a
student teacher if anything undesirable
was uncovered during a police check.
If anything untoward is revealed by the
check, representatives from the Government, independent and Catholic schools
and the universities would meet to consider the student teacher's suitability to
enter a school on a case-by-case basis.
Adelaide Advertiser (21-1-2005)