The figures were provided by the Teaching Council to the Engagement Forum on Teacher Workforce Planning, held in Portlaoise this morning. The forum was co-chaired by the Teaching Council and the Department of Education.
Dr Lynn Ramsey, Director of the Teaching Council, emphasised the critically important role that teachers play in society and in supporting the economy, throughout their careers, inspiring and educating pupils and learners. Noting the ongoing growth of the Register of Teachers since 2006, she said there is a consistent net increase of approximately 6,000 registrants annually, all of whom have met rigorous criteria for entry into the teaching profession in Ireland. This follows a recent report from the OECD which indicates 15-year-olds in Ireland performed very strongly in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), outperforming their peers across the EU and OECD countries in literacy.
Dr Ramsey said, “While it is very positive to see ongoing growth in the register, this is also in the context of ongoing pressures in the economy that are impacting teacher workforce planning and availability in Ireland. This in turn emphasises the importance of system wide partnership and collaboration to support the enhanced availability of teachers to education and schools, including the engagement forum on teacher workforce planning which provides the opportunity for knowledge sharing and awareness around all of the issues involved.”
Dr Ramsey said, “The Teaching Council is the regulator of the teaching profession in Ireland. Our role is to protect the public by promoting and regulating professional standards in teaching. We do this through the statutory registration of teachers, ensuring a highly qualified teaching profession, whose members meet and uphold high standards of professional competence and conduct. In recent years, the Teaching Council has made significant enhancements to registration systems, introducing a new online multi-service registration portal. This has further supported the efficiency of our registration processes. The average processing time for Irish-qualified applicants is now less than four weeks per application. Processing times for overseas applicants can take longer, as an assessment of qualifications is required to ensure comparability with standards of initial teacher education programmes in Ireland. However, the Teaching Council strives to expedite these applications. This has included improvements to the design of our application process and website, changing the requirements for certain documents, implementing a follow-up process for incomplete applications and introducing new processing tools and document software.
“Initiatives have been introduced to bolster the supply of registered and vetted teachers, including legislative amendments this year enabling teachers qualified outside of the Republic of Ireland to register and complete their induction in Ireland. As of November 2023, 205 applications have been received with 94 teachers now registered under this amendment. The closing date for applications through this route is 1 February 2024.
“We operate a fast-track registration process for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) each year. Registration for 3,774 new graduates was completed under this process between May and August 2023 with an average processing time of less than four weeks per application. The integrated professional induction framework for newly qualified teachers, Droichead is contributing strongly to the professional development of teachers as they embark on their careers, laying the groundwork for their future growth and learning.
Commenting on the Teaching Council’s regulatory and professional standards role, Dr Ramsey said, “The teaching profession in Ireland justifiably carries a high level of public trust, built across the generations. As the regulator for Ireland’s teaching profession, the Teaching Council is dedicated to promoting and regulating professional standards in education to ensure that the quality of education delivered by registered teachers meets the expectations of students, parents, and society in general.”
Ms. Michelle Keane, Chairperson of the Teaching Council agreed that Dr Ramsey’s comments on the Teaching Council’s regulatory role ‘underscore our commitment to upholding the esteemed reputation of the teaching profession in Ireland, which involves maintaining standards – and thereby enhancing public trust in education’.