After 2 years in Australia, Andy has finally been given full registration from the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), hurray! This has been a long process due to his original teaching qualification from England, a GTP (an 'on the job' qualification, rather than the more traditional route of the PGCE). Luckily, Andy was able to get provisional registration from the VIT, called Permission to Teach, which allowed him to work in a school that could not find a suitable fully registered teacher. He has been working at a Catholic school in west Melbourne since July 2013 with this registration, but would only be able to do that for a maximum of 3 years.
With this in mind, and knowing that we would have the same difficulties with the GTP and teacher registration when we eventually move to Canada, we decided it would be best if Andy went back to uni to complete a Graduate Diploma in Education (Dip Ed). He started this in March 2013, while still working full time as a teacher. Although it was a lot of work for him, in many ways we've been fortunate with how things have worked out. First of all, his programme at Deakin University was a distance education course, meaning most of it was completed in his own time and he only had to go into the university for four 2-week blocks. Secondly, the school he was at supported this and gave him paid time off to attend these weeks at the university. This was also the last year that Deakin was offering the programme, as all teacher education programmes are now 2 years long in Victoria (this one was only 8 months long in total). And Deakin also gave him 'credit for prior learning' based on his GTP, teaching experience, and Masters in Education. (Yes, incredible that he was not able to get full registration here with those qualifications!) In the end he actually only had to complete about two-thirds of the course.
So everything fell into place quite nicely, including our Permanent Residence visas, which came just a few weeks before the uni fees were due. If this hadn't come through in time we would have been stuck paying overseas student fees, which were something like $22,000! Yikes!
Andy finished the course in October last year, and then had to go through a process that all first year teachers here have to do. This involves putting together a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate that you meet the teaching standards, along with an Investigating Student Learning project. As he was working in a school while doing his Dip Ed, he was able to submit this just after finishing his course, instead of waiting another year to do it. This is normally something that the school assess and signs off on, and the VIT don't have much to do with, however of course Andy and his school were audited by the VIT and had to send in all his evidence and his project! So the full registration was delayed while we waited for them to check over his work. Thankfully it was all fine and the registration came through last week. It is such a relief to have this all done and dusted. I don't think Andy will be signing up for any more qualifications or courses anytime soon...