Swimming, ballet and art teachers may have to dream up another title - or risk getting slapped with a $2000 fine.

A bill that will control who gets to be called teacher is before a select committee.

If it is passed into law, using the word teacher without a teaching degree would be punishable with a $2000 fine.

The National Party has touted the bill as an idea that will "undermine educators throughout the country".


The Labour-led Government is supporting a Bill that restricts the use of the title "teacher". That means the person who...

Posted by Todd McClay MP on Friday, 13 April 2018

The intent of the Education (Protecting Teacher Title) Amendment Bill is to lift the status of teachers by stopping those who have not gained recognised teaching qualifications from using that title.

Those who aren't qualified could use titles like mentor, lecturer, tutor or educator.

National education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said the bill jeopardised many current teachers and early childhood teachers whose current qualifications and experiences fall outside of the criteria. She said it would affect thousands of people.

"It has the potential to undermine and devalue our many educators who contribute to the wellbeing of our country. There are already provisions in the law to penalise people who may be misleading people about their qualifications.

"The impact of the bill is not even isolated to the education sector. Are we going to fine every music teacher, dance teacher and swimming teacher?

"National believes there are far greater priorities for education. This bill has far-reaching consequences for many people."

Submissions for the bill, fronted by New Zealand First MP Jenny Marcroft, closed on Friday.

NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft is fronting the bill that would see the term
NZ First MP Jenny Marcroft is fronting the bill that would see the term "teacher" restricted. Photo / Supplied

Marcroft said the intention of the bill was to increase the status of teachers and said educating roles such as music, dancing and swimming would be taken at their merits to see if they fit the criteria of "teacher".


"The qualifying body for things like dance, as long as they have a organisation that calls their qualification suitable then we will look at including them."

She was handed the bill because she was a qualified teacher and "in the first ballot I was lucky enough to have the bill pulled", she said.

"It was written at a time when charters schools were working, it was so parents knew that their teacher was fully qualified.

The bill was not being taken as "hard and fast" and she was taking advice from the Education Council, PPTA and even the counsel of Kaye and the National Party to ensure all wrinkles were being ironed out.

"Teachers asked for this. They asked for this status to be lifted; it is a profession that has a high expertise. This is us saying we value you.

"Who falls outside that should be inside? That is being worked on at the moment I am getting consulted on this. We need to look at who is qualified, is there qualification NZQA okayed? Is the Education Council happy?"


People who have no recognised teaching qualification should not be able to use the title teacher, the Bill reads.

Currently teachers become qualified by completing a three-year Bachelor of Education, a Bachelor's degree and then a one-year Graduate Diploma of Teaching or a four-year conjoint degree that combines study in teaching subjects with teacher training.

"Clarity around the use of the title of teacher is essential in order to avoid any misunderstanding by the public about the qualifications, registration status and professional oversight by the persons using the title of teacher."

Marcroft has been contacted for comment.