Regular upskilling to become mandatory for teachers

Educators asked to shape rules on standards for professional register

Teachers will have to prove they are undergoing training and upskilling on a regular basis in order to stay on a newly-formed professional register, the Teaching Council has said.

However, it has decided to allow teachers themselves shape the rules regarding what constitutes continuous professional development (CPD).

The consultation initiative was announced today at Féilte, the council's Festival of Education in Learning, at the RDS in Dublin.

Under the plan, teachers will earn credits for taking courses, undergoing training, or participating in learning networks, and their skills will be reviewed periodically.

However, the precise details of the scheme are not due to be agreed until March 2016, with the council - the professional body for primary and secondary teachers - emphasising the need for practitioners themselves to take ownership of the plan.

Tomás Ó Ruairc, director of the council said: “We are very much going with a blank slate to the profession and ask what has your experience been of professional learning to date, and what would you like to see in a national framework for CPD based on that experience?

“There are many different models out there. Scotland’s teaching council, for example, does a review of CPD every five years. You learn throughout those five years and then present your evidence of learning at the end of that period.

“The hallmark of any profession is you have to show you have been learning and upskilling yourself in order to maintain your licence to practice, or teach in this case.”

He said the framework was due to be be agreed in 18 months and “shortly thereafter it will become a requirement for re-registration” for teachers to meet its standard.

The council is planning to hold consultation workshops across the country and it notes schools can use the additional hours provided under the Haddington Road agreement to host discussions on CPD.

It is estimated that about 70 per cent of teachers at primary and post do CPD in some form but Mr Ó Ruairc said practitioners “want reassurance about what is good quality provision”.

Over 800 teachers, parents and education experts attended the Féilte event, which is aimed at celebrating World Teachers’ Day and showcasing best practice in Ireland.

Broadcaster Ryan Tubridy opened the festival, which included performances by the National Children’s Choir and the Teachers’ Musical Society, and workshops on new teaching and learning programmes.