What do casual and temporary primary teachers need to know about the Working with Children Check?
Following the cut-off date for secondary teachers to have submitted their Working with Children Check (WWCC) clearance number from the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) to the Department of Education (the Department)
a number of casual and temporary secondary teachers had their employment terminated. This was because those teachers had either submitted an application number issued by the Roads and Maritime Service for the WWCC to the Department, or had not engaged in the process at all.
The date for all primary teachers to have their WWCC clearance number is 31 December 2017. There are two issues for casual and temporary teachers to consider in relation to submitting the WWCC clearance number.
Firstly, it is a requirement for all pre-2004 teachers who will be deemed to be accredited at proficient on 1 January, 2018 to have their WWCC clearance check number entered on ESS.
Secondly, it was only casual and temporary teachers who were required to have their clearance number, verified by the Department, by the cut-off date who had their employment terminated. The Department accepted the application number for permanent teachers to be submitted in ESS prior to the cut-off date as adequate for them to remain employed.
The OCG is unambiguous in its advice to teachers:
“… [P]lease provide your application number to your employer for verification online. The WWCC legislation allows an applicant to work with an application number. If your employer is insisting you need to have a WWCC clearance to work, this is a decision that has been made by the employer and any issues in relation to this decision should be raised with the employer.”
The Department, however, advised Federation in a letter dated 3 May that, “The Department has the discretion to implement a policy position on such matters [in this case the WWCC] in the context of legislative and operational requirements and the Department’s responsibility to ensure the protection of students in our care, which is of paramount concern”.
This position only applied to casual and temporary teachers.
Federation is pursuing individual cases where casual and temporary secondary teachers had their employment terminated. It continues to argue that the Department should accept the application numbers for the WWCC from teachers, whether permanently employed or working in a casual and/or temporary capacity.
This cautionary tale should prompt all primary teachers who have yet to apply for their WWCC to do so to give adequate time for the process. To date, the Department has not wavered from its stance to terminate the employment of casual and temporary secondary teachers who do not have their WWCC number entered on ESS.
Casual and Temporary Teachers Handbook
The Casual and Temporary Teachers Handbook is in its final stages of production. There have been a number of updates to be incorporated. The handbook will not be produced in hard copy but in downloadable PDFs. As changes are made the PDFs will be updated. Thank you for your patience.
Julie Moon is the Officer responsible for casual and temporary teachers
Click here to download a PDF.