What is an Authority to Teach letter?

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Before you are able to work in South Australian public schools, you will need something called an Authority to Teach letter. 

The South Australian Department for Education requires every teacher who works for them as a casual relief teacher or on a temporary contract to have an Authority to Teach. You are only not required to have an Authority to Teach if you are a permanent employee who has won an ongoing position in a South Australian public school.

What is an Authority to Teach?

Your Authority to Teach is a letter that you will get via email once the South Australian Department for Education has checked all of your paperwork and approved you to work as a teacher in their schools. The Authority to Teach tells any school that wants to employ you that all of your certificates and documents are up-to-date and that the Department for Education has seen and checked them. 

A teacher is sitting looking at their payslip on a laptop while writing on a piece of paper.

If you get your Authority to Teach, you are placed on something called the Employable Teacher Register. This is a list of teachers that the South Australian Department for Education keeps that have all cleared their checks and have a current Authority to Teach. It is necessary for you to be in this Employable Teacher Register if you plan to teach in South Australian public schools.

What schools will require an Authority to Teach?

All of the public schools in South Australia will require your Authority to Teach before they will employ you as a teacher. This includes all of the public schools in Adelaide as well as those in rural and remote areas. 

You do not need an Authority to Teach to work in any South Australian independent schools. Catholic and other independent schools in Adelaide and South Australia will not require you to have an Authority to Teach, so these are a great option if you are looking for some work as a casual relief teacher and do not currently have an Authority to Teach. 

The Authority to Teach with the South Australian Department for Education is also specific to South Australia. You do not need an Authority to Teach if you are planning on working in public schools outside of South Australia.

How is an Authority to Teach different to Teacher’s Registration?

Your Authority to Teach is different to your South Australian Teacher’s Registration. In order to apply for your Authority to Teach, you will need to already be a registered teacher in South Australia through the Teacher’s Registration Board. Getting your Teacher’s Registration can take some time, but you will need to wait for this to be approved before you begin the process of applying for your Authority to Teach.

A teacher is sitting in a classroom completing a multiple choice literacy and numeracy test.

Your Authority to Teach is something that the South Australian Department for Education uses to tell their schools that you have all of the necessary qualifications and paperwork to be a teacher in one of their schools. It is essentially a pre-check so that schools can just see your Authority to Teach letter and know that all of your paperwork has already been checked with the Department. This makes it quicker and easier to employ you as a teacher in South Australian public schools.

Unlike your Teacher’s Registration, your Authority to Teach does not require any additional checks. The Teacher’s Registration Board of SA (TRB) requires a specific police check to give you your Teacher’s Registration, while the Department does not do any additional checks to give you your Authority to Teach. Your Authority to Teach letter is simply a letter to tell South Australian public schools that the Department for Education has cleared you to teach in their schools.

How do I get my Authority to Teach?

You can get your Authority to Teach letter through the South Australian Department for Education’s Edujobs site. You will need to apply for it just like you would for an ongoing position with the Department for Education.

You will find the form in the Teaching Jobs section, and it will be called Employable Teacher Register. If there are other positions being advertised at the time, this application will be at the end of the list. You can also search for this specific application form through their search function. 

A diagram showing the Authority to Teach job advertisement on Edujobs. It points out where it says that you will receive your Authority to Teach for applying, and highlights where you need to click to apply.

Once you find the correct page, you will need to click on the ‘Apply’ button at the end of the page. There will be several online forms that you will need to fill out, and you will need to attach various documents such as your Teacher’s Registration, academic transcripts, and a personal statement. 

Because of all the different forms that you need to fill out and documents that you need to attach, it is worth going in and having a look at the application form before you have all of the paperwork that you know you will need completed. This means that you can check to make sure that you can get everything together and that you haven’t forgotten anything while you’re still waiting for other documents to be processed. 

Once you have completed the online form, click on ‘Submit’ and your application will be submitted. Once your Employable Teacher Register application has been approved, you will get an email to your supplied email address with your Authority to Teach letter and you’re all set to work in South Australian public schools!

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