Thursday, 12 June 2014
Department of Education and Skills
87. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the necessary qualifications in special needs teaching required for teachers to be employed in special needs schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25038/14]
Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act which became operational on 28 January this year requires teachers to be registered with the Teaching Council in order to be paid from State funds, except as I have provided for by regulation.
The Teaching Council is the body with statutory responsibility for the regulation of the teaching profession including the registration of teachers. Under Section 38 of the Teaching Council Act the Council reviews and accredits programmes of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) in accordance its published Criteria and Guidelines for programme providers. All ITE Programmes are subject to ongoing review by the Council in accordance with the Criteria. It is the aim of the Council that teachers are competent to teach in the different teaching environments and are prepared to be lifelong learners continually adapting to enable them to support their students in achieving their full potential. Graduates from primary ITE Bachelor of Education courses are recognised to teach in all primary schools.
In addition my Department funds the Postgraduate Diplomas in Special Education Needs provided by seven universities/colleges of education around the country. Substitution is provided by my Department to facilitate teachers' absence from school to participate in the programmes. Section 39 of the Teaching Council Act provides authority for the Council to review and accredit programmes of Continuing Professional Development for teachers. It is intended that Section 39 will be commenced after Part 5 (Fitness to Teach) has been commenced. In addition the Special Education Support Service provides continuing professional development for teachers to enhance the quality of learning and teaching of students with special educational needs.