Further to the Striking the Balance report, the Teaching Council met with all HEI providers of Initial Teacher Education and school management bodies in June and July 2017. On foot of meetings with the HEI, we convened a forum of all stakeholders, including Higher Education Institutions, school management and teacher unions, to discuss practical steps which could be taken to address at least some of the issues which schools are facing.
The first meeting was held on 5 October 2017 and was attended by the Department of Education and Skills and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). The HEA provides funding to the colleges and universities who run programmes of Initial Teacher Education.
A report of the day’s proceedings can be found here.
The second meeting of the Forum was held on 7 February 2018 in Athlone. It was opened by Ms. Noelle Moran, Council Chairperson and a post-primary teacher, and was attended by a number of Council members. The agenda focused on identifying a small number of practical actions which can be taken in the short to medium term. A large and diverse gathering of stakeholders engaged in full discussion on many of the issues on teacher supply.
The feedback from the second day covered a range of points, including:
- The urgent need to implement all the recommendations from the report on teacher supply, "Striking the Balance".
- The urgent need to address the matter of pay equality.
- Supply panels for substitute teachers.
- How we must be careful to promote the profession in a positive way and safeguard the progress we have made in achieving a fully qualified teaching profession in Ireland.
- The cost of qualifying to become a teacher, particularly the PME route.
- More concurrent programmes for post-primary teaching i.e. 4-year degree which would qualify a person to become a teacher, combining foundation education studies and academic subject(s).
- Subject quotas for the post-graduate route to post-primary teaching (PME) i.e. reserving a certain number of places on the PME for graduates with subjects where demand in schools is currently not being met.