School closures impact on school placement
In light of the measures that have been adopted in relation to Covid-19 and in particular the closure of schools, the Teaching Council has contacted all initial teacher education programme providers offering clarification concerning school placement and revised online registration arrangements for final year students. In short, students who are expected to qualify in 2020 and had yet to fully complete their final school placement will not be adversely affected when it comes to applying for registration with the Teaching Council as a result of school closures. This means that teachers who have been awarded their qualification will not be disadvantaged due to their inability to complete school placement as a result of closure of schools, their application for registration will still be processed and no additional conditions will be applied.
HEI planning for 2020-21
The Teaching Council is aware that all initial teacher education programme providers are preparing their placement schedules and calendars for the next academic year, and the Council advises that planning for school placement 2020-2021, for all relevant cohorts, should continue in line with current Teaching Council policy. That said, the Teaching Council is also acutely aware of the potential long-term implications to school placement should Covid-19 restrictions continue into the beginning of the next academic year, or be reinstated at a later date during the academic year 2020-2021.
To that end, both the Teaching Council and the Department of Education and Skills have been in close communication and will facilitate consultation with all relevant stakeholders over the coming weeks to consider school placement arrangements in the context of any Covid-19 restrictions and guidelines for re-opening schools in the coming school year. Safeguarding the continuance of quality learning experiences for student teachers engaged in programmes of initial teacher education is of paramount concern.
Detailed guidance is being developed by Government in relation to the reopening and operation of schools and this will be used to help advise all initial teacher education programme providers in relation to placements.
The guidance will be published as soon as it is possible following thorough assessments of all the issues. It will take into account the effect of any Covid-19 restrictions on schools and the guidelines for re-opening schools.