New rules will make it easier to lodge complaints against teachers

New rules will make it easier to lodge complaints against teachers

New rules come into force today that should make it easier to lodge a complaint about a teacher.

Under the "fitness to teach" guidelines, any member of the public can complain about teaching standards.

The complaint could lead to an individual inquiry by the Teaching Council.

By commencing the fitness-to-teach provisions of law governing the Teaching Council, Education Minister Richard Bruton gives it authority to investigate complaints and conduct inquiries against any of the 93,000 people on its register.

Like its counterparts in the Medical Council, it can hold these inquiries in public, and it will have powers to issue sanctions that include the removal of a teacher from its register. This would remove a person’s ability to teach in State-funded primary or second-level schools, and a teacher could also be suspended for up to two years as a result of a fitness-to-teach inquiry.

Other sanctions open to the Teaching Council in the event of a finding against a teacher include placing restrictions on their continued registration, and requirements to undergo professional development.

Written reprimands can also be made.

The grounds on which complaints can be brought by a parent, school, another teacher, or member of the public include medical fitness, or professional misconduct and poor professional performance, on which standards have been defined by the council since its establishment a decade ago.

Teaching Council director Tomás Ó Ruairc said the complaints process is about improving teaching rather than punishing teachers.

“The fitness-to-teach process will be about reassuring the public and the profession as to the quality of teaching and learning that all learners can expect in our schools,” he said.

Additional reporting by

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Niall Murray.


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