Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Department of Education and Skills
Special Educational Needs Staff Contracts
51. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address the concerns regarding special education teachers who cannot complete their probationary requirements due to the lack of available opportunities and who cannot get permanent posts or places on the supplementary panel as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2007/17]
The Teaching Council is the statutory body with responsibility for professional standards at all stages of the teaching career. It has established standards for post-qualification professional practice, as set out in Droichead, the new model of induction and probation for newly qualified primary and post-primary teachers. The Droichead programme was the subject of a three-year pilot before it was approved by the Council in March 2016. The programme is being introduced on a phased basis since last September.
During the growth and development phase of Droichead, teachers employed in a special education or restricted setting must avail of the Droichead programme to achieve full registration with the Council. While a new policy on teacher probation was adopted by the Teaching Council last December, this does not change the requirement for teachers in a special education setting to avail of Droichead.
The INTO issued a directive to its members not to co-operate with or participate in Droichead from 1 July 2016. This directive has prevented newly qualified teachers employed in special education settings from participating in Droichead since September and thereby closed off the registration pathway. I hope the INTO will review its approach.
My Department is also considering the impact of the new policy adopted by the Council.
Budget 2016 made provision for some 2,260 additional teaching posts in the current school year. The new posts provide additional opportunities for newly qualified teachers.
The Supplementary Special National Panel has been phased out since the 2012/13 school year. No new applications to that panel have been accepted since.