Subjects ‘at risk’ due to teacher rules

Schools will have trouble having some subjects taught if strict rules are enforced that only qualified teachers can be employed, TDs and senators have been told.

Under the proposed commencement of part of the 2001 Teaching Council Act, schools would not be allowed to take on a teacher who was not registered with the council.

While the measure included in the Education (Amendment) Bill 2012 has been sought by the profession as a guard against schools continuing to employ unqualified people, the body representing almost 400 second-level boards of management raised concerns at the Oireachtas committee on jobs, social protection, and education.

Joint Managerial Body general secretary Ferdia Kelly said the issue was around the inability to recruit teachers in Irish, French, and specialist subjects such engineering.

“No board of management is going to be irresponsible and put someone who’s unsuited in the class.

“But we need to have people in front of classes, children are entitled to an education and in certain limited circumstances, we need to have these people in there.”

Rules in place since last September mean schools must make all efforts to find a teacher registered with the Teaching Council for any substitute work or temporary vacancies. If such a person is unavailable, a retired teacher should be sought, before an unqualified person can be used as a last resort.

Meanwhile, the committee also heard concerns from bodies representing school patrons and boards of management about changes to the law governing redeployment of teachers.

It is proposed to allow the education minister to determine procedures for redeployment after consulting with representatives of patron, school management and teacher unions.

The council for education of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference said it had implications for school boards as employers, in relation to open recruitment and the imposition of particular teachers on a school.


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