Board of Teacher Registration (BRT) Board member Graeme Hall, Assistant Director Dr Marie Jansen, BTR Chair Merline Muldoon, and Director Neville Fry.

Board of Teacher Registration (BTR)

The Board of Teacher Registration was constituted on 6 February 1989 under the provisions of the Education (Teacher Registration) Act 1988. The BTR replaced the Board of Teacher Education as the body responsible for the registration of teachers. It was also responsible to the Minister for the continuous review of teacher education in Queensland and the accreditation of initial teacher education programs for registration purposes.

The Final Report of Project 21 was published in mid-1987. This time coincided with significant changes in tertiary education at a Commonwealth level, i.e. the move toward a unified national system. The Dawkins Green paper Higher education: A policy discussion was published in December 1987; and the White paper Higher education: A policy statement in July 1988. This significant national change “… turned colleges into universities, free education into HECS, elite education into mass education, local focuses into international outlooks, Vice Chancellors into corporate leaders, teachers into teachers and researchers” (Croucher et al., 2013, p.i). In a Foreword to this book, Glyn Davis noted that “against expectations, the Dawkins reforms have endured with remarkably modest change”.

“Given uncertainty as to future responsibilities for teacher education and registration which continued throughout most of 1987 and 1988, the Board felt it inappropriate to proceed to implementation of recommendations which would have long term implications and which significant differences of view had been expressed. Nevertheless the Board established several working parties to advise it on the implementation of several of the recommendations of the Project 21 review.” (BTR Annual Report 1989, pp. 2-3). The working parties were as follows:

One of the first tasks of the new BTR was to develop a strategic plan - particularly important given significant changes in the broader environment. For example, the development of a unified national system made up of fewer larger tertiary institutions (see earlier); proposals made by the Commonwealth Higher Education Council concerning the length of initial teacher education courses, and the restructuring of teacher awards, all had implications for the work of the BTR. The strategic plan was endorsed in December 1989.

While the former BTE, in conjunction with the BAE, had a formal role in accreditation of ITE awards, the new BTR did not have that responsibility. However it was still required to approve courses for teacher registration purposes. As such an important task for 1989 was the development of guidelines for the acceptance of teacher education courses for the purposes of registration of their graduates in Queensland. These guidelines had to maintain a balance between the degree of autonomy these institutions were able to exercise and the degree of accountability that stakeholders required. As the 1990 Annual Report (p. 1) stated, this led to “perhaps a more complex and sensitive task: to confer and collaborate with employing authorities, teacher education institutions, the teaching profession, teacher organisations and the general community in relation to standards of courses of teacher education acceptable for registration purposes, and to advise the minister accordingly”. Interim guidelines for use in 1990 were accepted by the board at its December 1989 meeting. During 1990 these guidelines were revised and endorsed by the board in December. These guidelines were reviewed regularly during the 1990s.

Challenges in 1989 as to the requirements outlined in the Bassett (1978) and the Auchmuty (1980) reports ie that preservice programs should be 4 years and the Commonwealth government’s position that funding for 4 year programs would only be made available to secondary teaching programs were a feature of much Board discussion. The Board adopted a position that for future registration all programs should be 4 years duration.

Board membership

Merline Muldoon was appointed the new Chair of the Board of Teacher Registration in 1989.

First time elections for practising members to be on the Board were conducted — the first practising teachers were A. Greenhill, S. Groth and G. Hall who began on 19 July 1989.

1990 forward

The challenges with regard to the nature and length of preservice teacher education programs continued during 1990, with a number of Commonwealth challenges influencing Queensland processes.

The 1990 Annual Report noted that while in 1979 51 percent of Queensland teachers had undertaken three or more years of professional education, by 1989 this figure had risen to 82 percent.

Other features of the Board’s work in 1990 included inservice teacher education programs, literacy needs in teacher education, subject teaching area requirements for secondary school teachers and Asian studies in teacher education.

The board continued to support the conduct of relevant research where funding was available.

In addition, in order to broaden teachers’ understanding of the role of the Board members did a number of visits around Queensland during 1990. Locations included Roma, Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Mackay, Bowen, Moranbah, Logan City and Townsville. All tertiary institutions were visited to discuss the work of the BTR with graduating teachers. Regional visits became a regular activity.

Australian Teaching Council

During the early 1990s, considerable discussion focussed on the creation of a National Teaching Council, proposed as a national body whose primary functions would include promoting national recognition for the teaching profession; establishing national standards for entry to and continued membership of the profession; developing a possible framework for national teacher registration; collaborating with higher education institutions on preservice teacher education; promoting and supporting effective induction and continuing professional development; and responding to national professional issues. A national conference was held, and a number of discussion papers were developed. The Registered Teacher (1992) noted that “In the discussion papers and in the consultations around Australia, the achievements of the Board of Teacher Registration have been put forward as an example of benefits of a representative professional body for the teaching profession” (p. 3). It is important to note that at this time many states did not have teacher regulation processes. Indeed, only Queensland and South Australia had regulatory authorities from the 1970s, and Victoria’s regime only applied to private school teachers. As of 1999, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory were actively considering teacher registration (Jansen, 1999).

The BTR was supportive of the establishment of a national teaching council and that such a body would advance the standing of the teaching profession in Australia. The Australian Teaching Council came into being in 1993, and while the BTR encouraged teachers to join, not all employing authorities were supportive (Muldoon, 1993). Despite ongoing support from the BTR (Muldoon, 1995), Commonwealth support ceased to be provided and late in 1996 the ATC ceased to operate (The Registered Teacher, 1996, p. 2).

A decade of national reviews

National reviews into teacher education such as Ebbeck (1990) and Ramsey (1990) posed challenges to the position of teacher education in the new binary system (Dwyer, 1990); and as Dyson (2005, p. 47) noted, reflected the same recurring themes:

Recommendations of the Ebbeck report were not unlike those of the Queensland Bassett (1978) review and were largely rejected. The Ramsey (1990) report, titled The shape of teacher education also posed challenges with respect to the ownership of teacher education (Dyson, 2005). 1998 saw a national project designed and managed by the Australian Council of Deans of Education which was commissioned to “develop standards and guidelines for initial teacher education; consider the roles of such guidelines in underpinning high standards of teacher education and entry into teaching across Australia; and identify appropriate means to fostering partnerships to enhance initial teacher education” (Adey, 1998, p. iii). Dyson commented that the States and the Commonwealth government appeared to prevent the advance of some of the outcomes, such as national standards. The Commonwealth Government commissioned a Senate review in 1998, titled A Class Act (Crowley, 1998), an inquiry which wholly focused on the profession of teaching. Among its 19 recommendations included the development of national teaching standards and registration body” (p. 1).

International influence

Early in 1995, an historic meeting was held in New Zealand to share information on each authority’s registration legislation and policies. This meeting also formalised the establishment of the Australia-New Zealand Teacher Registration Forum. Attendees were representatives from the Board of Teacher Registration, and the Teacher Registration Boards of South Australia and New Zealand.

1996–1997 Transition years

The years 1996-1997 brought changes in both the roles of Director and Chair.

Neville Fry retired at the beginning of 1996. He had served the Board of Teacher Education from 1979 as Chief Administrative Officer, and the BTR from 1989 as Director. He was responsible for the management of the Board’s office and the provision of advice and professional corporate services to the Board and its committees. He had also been a member of a number of Queensland and National committees.

Marie Jansen was appointed as Director of the BTR following the retirement of Neville Fry. She has formerly served for 5 years as Assistant Director (Professional Services) and for another 5 years in a variety of positions. Ms. Jansen brought extensive experience and expertise to the role.

In March 1997 Merline Muldoon, the inaugural Chair of the BTR, retired after 8 years in the role. Dr L. J. Dwyer (John) began as Chair in March 1997. The work of the BTR under Mr Dwyer’s leadership will be outlined in the next edition of eNews.

In The Registered Teacher (Muldoon, 1996), Ms. Muldoon summarised the major achievements of the 8 years since the beginning of the BTR:

  1. Developed Guidelines on the acceptability of teacher education programs for teacher registration
    • 4 years of study minimum, and professional studies in no less than 3 semesters; and
    • these were revised and as from I January 1998 all new applicants for teacher registration will have four years study and at least 2 years (equivalent) of professional studies.
  2. Mutual Recognition (MR) policy
    • 1994 — Board finalised a Mutual Recognition agreement with SA Teachers’ Registration Board
    • 1995 — policy on MR from other states of Australia and New Zealand — adopted by Board early in 1995 and adopted by Minister later that year.
  3. Acceptance of Queensland preservice ITE courses
    • Over 8 years the BTR has accepted 60 preservice teacher education courses at all 8 Qld institutions.
  4. Disciplinary action
    • Since 1989, the BTR has taken disciplinary action against 25 teachers- 14 were removed from the register; the remaining 11 the teacher requested removal from the register or allowed registration to lapse.
  5. The Professional Development Consortium was established with the support of the Board.
  6. Over the 8 years the Board held nine conferences and published 16 reports on a range of aspects of teacher education - including Asian Studies, LOTE, literacy, teaching of students with special needs, environmental education, ATSI studies, social justice issues and teaching of young adolescents.
  7. September 1996 - first Code of Ethics was published.


As of 1989, 56, 583 teachers were on the register. This had increased to 70,100 as of 31 December 1996.


Adey, K. (1998). Preparing a profession: Report of the national standards and guidelines for initial teacher education project. Australian Council of Deans of Education.

Board of Teacher Registration. (1989). Annual Report. Author.

Board of Teacher Registration. (1990). Annual Report. Author.

Board of Teacher Registration. (1992). A national Teaching Council for Australia? The Registered Teacher,5, p. 3.

Board of Teacher Registration. (1996). Feisty ATC struggles on. The Registered Teacher, 12, p. 2.

Croucher, G., Marginson, S., Norton, A., & Wells, J. (2013). (Eds.). The Dawkins Revolution, 25 years on. Melbourne University Press.

Crowley, R. C. (1998). A Class Act: Inquiry into the status of the teaching profession. Report from the Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education Reference Committee.

Dwyer, J. (1990). Teaching in a changing world: Which way for teacher education. In B. Moon (Ed.)., Models of teacher education (pp. 103-123). Australian Teacher Education Association.

Dyson, M. (2005). Australian teacher education: Although reviewed to the eyeballs is there evidence of significant change and where to now. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 30 (1), 37-54.

Ebbeck, F. (1990). Teacher education in Australia: Report No. 6 to the Australian Education Council. National Board of Employment, Education and Training.

Jansen, M. (1999). Teacher registration in other states. The Registered Teacher, 18, p. 8.

Muldoon, M. (1993). From the Chair. The Registered Teacher, 6, p. 1.

Muldoon, M. (1995). From the Chair. The Registered Teacher, 10, p. 3.

Muldoon, M. (1996). From the Chair. The Registered Teacher, 12, p. 2.

Ramsey, G. (1990). The shape of teacher education: Some proposals. Commonwealth Government.


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