Calls for full training to ensure pupil integration


DELEGATES AT the Teachers’ Union of Ireland congress backed a call for systematic in-service programmes to help teachers ensure students from different cultural backgrounds are fully integrated.

Dublin city post-primary delegate Christina Clarke said diversity presented a substantial challenge to teachers.

While the Department of Education had issued guidelines and recommendations on intercultural education, these documents were doing nothing more than paying lip service to the issue, she said.

The department and VECs should put funding in place to provide structured in-service training on intercultural issues for teachers, she added.

Meanwhile, a senior department official has moved to reassure teachers that a controversial proposal in the Education and Training Boards Bill to prosecute teachers if they impede or obstruct a school inspector will be amended before enactment.

Under the Heads of the Bill, any person who obstructs or impedes an inspector in the exercise of their powers will be guilty of an offence and can be jailed for five years and/or fined up to €100,000. Delegates had roundly condemned the proposal. But Department of Education chief inspector Harold Hislop said: “It will be amended and it will be used solely in extremis.”