Ask Brian: Can I qualify abroad to become a primary teacher?

There are lots of options but graduates will need to pass an Irish language test

Many young Irish students have completed primary school teaching programmes abroad and returned to teach in our schools. Photograph: iStock

Many young Irish students have completed primary school teaching programmes abroad and returned to teach in our schools. Photograph: iStock

 

My daughter’s dream is to become a primary school teacher. She is in fifth year and now and her projected points score – 350 to 420 – fall well short of teaching entry requirements. Would it be possible to qualify abroad and return to teach here?

Many young Irish students have completed primary school teaching programmes abroad and returned to teach in our schools following their registration with the Teaching Council.

To be eligible to apply for registration in Ireland, such students must be a fully recognised/qualified teacher in the state in which they complete their teaching qualification.

To be fully qualified in the UK, students must have completed an initial teacher education qualification plus a period of induction.

However, Northern Ireland does not require induction to be completed before it issues a teacher with a letter confirming that they meet the terms of the European Union directive.

The study of the Irish language is a requirement for registration in the Republic of Ireland, which she would obviously not have undertaken in the case of an externally-acquired degree.

If she were to qualify abroad, she would have to address this by successfully completing either an aptitude test (Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge – SCG) or an adaption period (Oiriúnú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge – OCG). Further information on these options can be found online (www.ilrweb.ie).

Shortfalls

She would be afforded three years from the date of registration, during which time she may be employed as a primary school teacher, to address all the identified shortfalls attached to her registration.

Failure to do so within the three-year time period would result in her registration lapsing.

Applications to study in a primary school degree programme in Northern Ireland or the UK for the2020-2021 academic year must be made by January 15th, 2020. All relevant primary school teaching courses are listed on the ucas.com website, through which any application must be made.

Given the uncertainty of Brexit and the high cost of third-level fees in the UK, some Irish students are looking beyond these islands when it comes to qualifying as a primary school teacher abroad.

I recently met a young Irish student who is taking an international teacher education course taught through English at NHL Stenden university (www.nhlstenden.com) in the Netherlands. All placements on this programme are undertaken in international schools in the Netherlands and in Dutch bilingual schools.

As an EU citizen, any Irish student is eligible to study on the same terms as Dutch residents. Fees are €2,068 per year, and student accommodation varies between €400 and €500 per month.

Although aimed at preparing students to teach in international schools throughout the world, there is nothing stopping a graduate from returning to teach in Ireland.