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Underperforming Teachers to face new sanctions

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 03/01/2014. Underperforming Teachers to face new sanctionsTags: Education And Politics Teachers

Amendments to legislation will see new sanctions available to the Teaching Council

The Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., is moving to significantly increase the powers available to the Teaching Council, the regulatory body for teachers. 
Under amended legislation, which is due to go to the Oireachtas, the Teaching Council will have a range of new sanctions at its disposal to deal with poor and under-performing teachers.  Up until now, a teacher had to be deemed “unfit to teach” before the Teaching Council could impose any sanctions.

The Teaching Council will be able to impose sanctions that are consistent with the seriousness of findings against a teacher.  These will range from advice, admonishment or censure to suspension or removal from the Teaching Council’s register.

With the commencement of Section 30 from January 28th also, all teachers must be registered with the Teaching Council in order to be paid by  out of public funds.  Therefore if a teacher is suspended or removed from the register, they cannot be paid by the Department or the Education and Training Boards 
Up until now, the range of sanctions that the Teaching Council might impose following a fitness to teach inquiry are:

(a) Removal from the register for a specified period
(b) Suspension from the register up to 2 years
(c) Retained on the register subject to all or any of the following conditions:
·        that the teacher seek the assistance of a service relating to teacher health     and welfare
·        that the teacher attend a specified professional development course
·        such other conditions as the Disciplinary Committee thinks fit.

It is proposed to add a further sanction of advice, admonishment, or a censure in writing to the range of sanctions available to the Council.

Minister Quinn said, “The new sanctions available to the Teaching Council are more in line with those available to other professional regulators such as the Medical Council or An Bord Altranais. The operation by the Council of robust fitness to teach procedures is important for the public and teachers so that they have full confidence in the teaching profession. This is a further positive step in the full professionalisation of teaching.”
“The vast majority of teachers in our classrooms perform well. But for the small minority who do not, I believe that the Teaching Council will now have at its disposal the right tools to deal with cases of serious misconduct and to improve and assist poorly performing teachers.”

“I also believe that these new powers to investigate allegations of misconduct and underperformance will mean that parents have a method of having genuine complaints about teaching standards investigated.”
Under the new legislation, teachers will also be able to appeal any refusal of renewal of registration by the Teaching Council to the High Court. 

The legislation is expected to be published shortly. 

Source DOE Press Release


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