Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Education and Skills

Teacher Training

Photo of Michael Healy-RaeMichael Healy-Rae (Kerry, Independent)
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277. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to provide additional places and scholarships on training courses (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [28702/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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The number of students admitted to primary concurrent and consecutive programmes in State-funded HEIs is determined by the Minister for Education, having regard to teacher supply and demand issues, and available resources.

The work of the Department on matters related to teacher supply and demand continues. A Technical Report ‘Developing a Teacher Demand and Supply Model for Ireland 2020 – 2038’, which was published in 2019, is currently being updated and will inform proposals for future development in this area. That report is expected to be published in the Autumn.

Recognising issues which have been experienced with teacher supply at primary in recent years, the Minister for Education approved 610 additional places in primary programmes in the current State-funded providers. These were:

  • 90 additional places on the Bachelor of Education programme in 2023 and 2024, making a total of 1,090 each year.
  • 30 additional places on the Bachelor of Education through the Medium of Irish in 2023, making a total of 60 in 2023.
  • 200 additional places on the Professional Master of Education (Primary Teaching) programme in 2023 and 2024, making a total of 400 each year.
The principal support provided by the Government in financial terms is the Student Grant Scheme. Grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding. The decision on eligibility for a student grant is a matter, in the first instance, for SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland) to determine.

Budget 2024 reflects this Government’s commitment to ongoing investment in the education system through various measures including:

  • Introduction of a professional master’s of education incentive scheme for newly qualified teachers graduating in 2024. Eligible teachers can receive an incentive payment of up to €2,000, to be paid in 2025.
In addition to the Budget measures, further initiatives have been developed to address teacher supply challenges, including:
  • Ensuring flexibility in initial teacher education programs to allow student teachers to support schools, with over 2,700 registered under Route 5 with the Teaching Council in 2023, providing valuable substitute teaching support. Currently there are 3,700 registered under Route 5, the highest number ever.
  • The Teaching Transforms campaign continues to promote the teaching profession encouraging students to follow a career in teaching. The campaign uses digital, radio and video media, and is supported by a dedicated webpage -
Teaching remains an attractive career choice.

CAO preferences for primary teaching showed increases at the closing date in February 2024 with overall mentions up 10% and first preferences increasing by 2% from 2023.

In 2024, there were 4,271 first preference applications for undergraduate teaching programmes, showing a trend largely consistent with recent years. Analysis of CAO applications spanning from 2017 to 2024 indicates a sustained and robust demand for undergraduate teaching programmes. On average, 6% of first preference applications during the period from 2017 to 2024 were for either primary or post-primary teaching programmes. Specifically, the percentage of first preference applications for undergraduate primary teaching programmes ranged between 2.9% and 3.8%, while those for post-primary undergraduate programmes ranged between 2.4% and 2.9%.

The ratio of first preference applications through the CAO for level 8 courses in 2022 shows that there were 1.5 applicants per place for education, with a higher demand for primary courses (2) than for post-primary places (1.5). The demand for primary ITE is higher than for all fields except for medicine (3.5) and veterinary medicine (5.2)

The new pay deal, with all three teacher unions having voted in favour of, will mean that teachers’ starting salary will increase to €46,000 rising to a maximum of €85,000 per year which compares well internationally. Starting pay of €46,000 will be almost €20,000 higher than the 2011 rates.

Over 3,700 newly qualified teachers have registered with the Teaching Council in 2023, with over 122,000 now on the Teaching Council register.

My Department continues to engage closely with education stakeholders to develop further, innovative measures to address teacher supply issues.

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