New education provision contains anomalies which need to be addressed
Section 30 of Teaching Council Act may see some schools disadvantaged
Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, has called for anomalies which may arise following the implementation of Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act 2001, which is due to be commenced at the beginning of next month, to be addressed so that colleges of further education, senior colleges and those teaching at ITs are not disadvantaged.
“Section 30 of the Act, which will come onto force on 1st November, will compel all those who are delivering education programmes, who are employed in State-funded teaching positions, to be registered with the Teaching Council. While this is designed to meet the Department of Education’s objective of ensuring that a registered and fully qualified graduate teaching profession is in place, a number of colleges could be negatively impacted unless a degree of flexibility is introduced into the system.
“One of these anomalies centres on the fact that there is currently no provision in some of the new Education and Training Boards to employ someone whose Teaching Council registration is pending; a situation which is causing serious difficulty for some institutions. While the supervision and substitution scheme can be used to provide some cover for short-term absences, it is only a temporary solution and certainly not an ideal one.
“On another issue, Minister of State at the Department of Education, Ciarán Cannon TD, has confirmed to me, on Minister Quinn’s behalf, that a provision may be introduced to forgo the requirement for industry specialists, in certain roles, to register with the Teaching Council under section 30 of the Act. I have no doubt that this fact will be welcomed by colleges of further education and senior colleges especially, as these institutions by their very nature, offer specialist classes, such as theatrical make-up and cloud computing, which are better suited being taught by industry experts who are more appropriately competent in these areas. I await further developments on this.
“Consideration must also be given to the fact that those who are qualified to work in third level institutions, such as Institutes of Technology (IT), do not require Teaching Council registration. This means that, after 1st November, they will no longer be eligible for employment in further education colleges once Section 30 has been commenced.
“I agree with Minister Cannon that we must be able to stand over the quality of education being delivered in our schools and colleges but I am calling for some degree of flexibility so that students are not disadvantaged and we can ensure the most appropriate professionals are properly trained and teaching our students to an acceptable level. A further circular is due to be published shortly containing the procedures for people and schools upon the commencement of section 30. It is my firm hope that these issues will be addressed at that time.”