Written answers

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic

Martin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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182. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties facing newly qualified teachers in the probational period prior to Covid-19 who have been informed that online teaching work during the lockdown will not be counted by the Teaching Council towards the probational period and as such is not awarding diplomas to newly qualified teachers; and the measures he will take to ensure the careers of newly qualified teachers do not suffer as a result of same. [10618/20]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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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 integrated professional induction framework for newly qualified primary and post-primary teachers.

Due to Covid-19 and the unprecedented situation of school closures, the Teaching Council has announced revised arrangements which provide additional flexibility to support newly qualified teachers (NQTs) engaging in Droichead in 2019/2020 to complete the process. These arrangements balance the core principles of the policy which is the school based supportive process coupled with engagement in additional professional learning activities.

The Council has made a significant concession for NQTs who had not completed the full Droichead process within the minimum period of time by 12 March. This includes the recognition of all elements of Droichead which have been completed up to that date i.e. additional professional learning activities, observations, professional conversations, cluster meetings, Taisce (the professional learning portfolio) and days/hours taught. In normal circumstances this would not be the position.

The Council has also clarified that any time spent engaging in Droichead after 12 March can be included in verification of the Droichead process. This includes remote teaching and learning, professional discussions and online observations.

Droichead as a process is not simply about teaching time. From a professional standards point of view, it requires the agreement of the NQT and the Professional Support Team in the school that a quality induction process has occurred over the minimum period of time specified.

While I understand that the Council has communicated with all NQTs and schools affected, further details of the revised arrangements can be found at www.teachingcouncil.ie.

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