Monday, 18 April 2016: The newly-appointed Teaching Council held its first meeting on 12 and 13 April at its offices in Maynooth. At this meeting, the Council discussed the challenges facing newly qualified entrants to the profession. It agreed unanimously to issue a statement outlining these serious concerns and their impact on the teaching profession, and on the quality of learning experiences for all learners in our education system:
The Teaching Council has a dual mandate in law to both promote and regulate the teaching profession. In this context, the Council is concerned at the impact of unequal pay for new entrants and the longer term issue of casualisation, including low hours and job insecurity, on their morale and on the cohesion of the wider profession.
While the Council has no role in the negotiation of terms and conditions of employment, it is charged with promoting the profession of teaching. The Sahlberg International Review Report on Initial Teacher Education (2012) noted that Ireland was very fortunate in the calibre of people who were seeking to enter the profession. The Council therefore believes that these matters must be addressed if our shared goal of maintaining and enhancing the attractiveness of the teaching profession in Ireland is to be safeguarded. It calls on those with responsibility for these matters to address them as a matter of urgency.
The Council wishes to note the work that it has done to date on teacher supply, and how a sustainable solution to this matter is important for the education system, including the teaching profession.
Ultimately, a common goal across the education community is to ensure that new entrants to the teaching profession have the best possible start to their careers, and that teaching in Ireland continues to attract and retain high calibre teachers. The Council is of the view that matters of pay, in tandem with sustained opportunities and supports for professional practice, are vital to support the realisation of that goal and maintain the attractiveness of the profession.