Status of thousands of teachers in doubt

The Teaching Council’s increased disciplinary powers and the Government’s control over the hiring of people who are not qualified are being hamstrung by doubts over the status of thousands of teachers.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn is anxious to enforce section 30 of the 2001 Teaching Council Act this coming school year.

It would mean his department would only pay people for teaching work if they were registered with the regulatory body — which requires holding a teaching qualification.

This would, in turn, pave the way for the council to investigate and sanction teachers who breach its code of conduct or whose work falls below standard.

However, the timescale for the move is unclear and question marks hang over the status of many teachers and other staff.

Earlier this year, thousands of working teachers who were not registered with the Teaching Council were told they would not be paid once section 30 comes in.

However, a number of other factors may force the measure to be pushed out. Among these are:

* Major gaps between the personal information about some of the 73,531 registered teachers held by the Teaching Council and the Department of Education’s teacher payroll section;

* Anomalies regarding people employed in schools before the Teaching Council was set up in 2006, who were given an exemption from holding qualifications but whose registration has since lapsed;

* Lack of clarity on the categories of education centres whose staff must be registered.

John MacGabhann, the Teachers’ Union of Ireland general secretary, said: “We understand section 30 needs to be commenced... but we’re insisting it shouldn’t happen until such time as the current uncertainties are cleared up.”


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