Delay to start of upskilling course for maths teachers

An upskilling course for maths teachers who have no qualification in the subject has been delayed.

It is not expected to start until this September, a year after it was announced.

Last year, the Department of Education said the first students on post-graduate courses were expected to begin early this year. However, the department is still finalising the tender process to select a college or colleges to offer the course, having invited offers to run it in mid-December.

“We envisage that the course will be in place for Sept 2012 for the first intake of participants,” a spokesperson said.

The courses are being provided in response to the fact that about 1,900 second-level teachers who take maths classes do not have it as one of the major subjects in their college qualifications.

A Teaching Council survey published in September found that one-in-three teachers of maths were in this position, although the vast majority of these had studied it as a major subject for at least one year of their undergraduate degree.

Of 3,311 people teaching maths at the 422 schools which responded, 84 —or 2.5% — did not take maths during their third-level education. Previous research for a University of Limerick study indicated staff in such circumstances were not usually allocated higher-level Leaving Certificate maths classes.

In response to questions from the Irish Examiner about the likely content and duration of the courses, the department said it would have more detail on the number of students and the duration of any courses after the tender process was completed.

The courses will be voluntary but the department has said it expects a high level of uptake from teachers who need to improve their qualifications.

The teaching of maths is one of Education Minister Ruair Quinn’s main focuses. He wants literacy and numeracy teaching to be a major component of primary and second-level teacher training programmes, which are to be extended in duration from next year.

A new second-level curriculum called Project Maths has been taught in schools since. The curriculum is aimed at making the subject more interesting and relevant to young people by applying maths theory to practical situations.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up