Tuesday, 21 February 2012
Department of Education and Skills
Brendan Ryan (Dublin North, Labour)
Question 230: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the role the Teacher’s Council of Ireland play in the improvement of education in Ireland; if he will confirm if membership of the TCI mandatory; if so, the reason for same; if he will give further details of what each member receives in return for their annual subscription; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9337/12]
Ruairi Quinn (Minister, Department of Education and Skills; Dublin South East, Labour)
The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for the teaching profession. The Council seeks to set and uphold high professional standards for teaching and teachers. It does this in the interests of pupils and the public good but equally for the reputation and status of the profession. Quality of teaching has been determined as the single most influential factor towards achieving good educational outcomes for students. The work of the Council is focused towards the maintenance and improvement of the standards of teaching and includes: Developing and implementing a ’Continuum of Education’ which links the professional education and training needs throughout all phases of a teachers career* Restructuring and extending the programmes of initial teacher education in order that newly qualified teachers are better equipped for the needs of the modern day classroom* Reviewing and accrediting teacher education programmes. Putting in place higher qualification and teacher education standards for teachers in the three sectors – Primary, Post-Primary and Further Education. Putting in place strict good character and Garda vetting requirements. Publishing a Code of Professional Conduct for teachers (which is currently being revised). Putting in place induction procedures for newly qualified teachers and a probation process applicable to all newly registered teachers. Preparing for Fitness to Teach procedures and processes when the Council’s powers in this area are commenced by the Minister. Developing a Continued Professional Development framework for teachers.
The individual teacher benefits from being a member of a fully regulated profession. The work of the Council supports teachers in the following key areas: Protecting standards of entry to the profession, promoting induction processes and fostering best practice in continuing professional development. Reviewing and accrediting programmes of teacher education. Promoting research and engaging in debate and discussion on policy issues related to education. Dealing with complaints as to alleged professional misconduct made against teachers (when Part 5 of the TCA is commenced). Advising Government on teaching supply and other professional issues. Enhancing the teacher’s individual status and identity by his or her being part of a recognised, collective professional entity, with statutory authority and recognition. Enhancing the status of the profession and use every opportunity to promote teaching as a career.
Through all of the above the Teaching Council will help teachers to set and maintain the standards for the profession. It is the policy of my Department that all teachers paid from State funds should be registered by the Teaching Council and suitably qualified. The Education (Amendment) Bill paves the way for the commencement of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act which is part of the progression towards a fully regulated profession, while also providing for the employment, in certain exceptional and limited circumstances, of persons who are not registered teachers under the Teaching Council Act 2001.