Group meets to assess teacher supply

A group established to ensure an adequate supply of teachers in primary and post-primary schools meets today for the first time.

Education and Skills Minister Richard Bruton will convene the meeting of the specialist group.

Mr Bruton established the group in a bid to realise the Government’s ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.

The specialist group will have 10 members and will be chaired by the secretary general of the Department of Education and Skills, Seán Ó Foghlú.

Members include University College Cork’s deputy president and registrar, John O’Halloran.

More than 5,000 additional teachers have been successfully recruited in the last two years. However, there is concern about teacher supply.

The group will consider the issues that impact on teacher supply and demand and oversee an action programme.

These include policies and arrangements for schools and teachers that influence teacher mobility and supply. Teacher promotion will also be examined.

There has been some criticism that there is no student representative on the group but a spokesperson for the minister said they could be consulted as the group’s work progresses.

Mr Bruton said they had very ambitious plans for education, in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and digital learning, and that a key step in those strategies was to ensure that there was a steady supply of teachers.

“Concerns have been raised in recent times around teacher supply,” he said. “I am convening this group to respond to these concerns and consider the issues which impact on teacher supply and demand.”

The minister said a number of measures had been taken, including the agreement by universities to provide 280 extra training places for secondary school teachers this year.

It includes an extra 100 places in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and foreign languages — an increase of over 40% in these areas.

Mr Bruton said final-year Leaving Certificate students still considering a career in teaching could use the CAO change of mind facility up to July 1.

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