Teaching Council to review application fees amid complaints over cost and delays

Regulatory body warns UK graduates that shortfalls in qualifications ‘are likely to be significant’

The Teaching Council says it is reviewing the fees it charges young graduates seeking to enter the profession amid mounting complaints over costs and bureaucracy.

Since last year, anyone working in teaching has to be registered with the council at an initial cost of €90, but fees are a multiple of this if the applicant graduated overseas or outside of traditional teacher training colleges.

To have your qualifications assessed, the council charges €200 and an additional €100 for each post-primary subject.

A number of graduates, including some who studied in the UK, have complained to The Irish Times not only about the cost and delays involved in the application process but also the added burden of meeting more stringent qualification requirements.


The one-year Professional Diploma in Education (PDE), what used to be the Hdip, has been replaced with a two-year Professional Master of Education (PME). This has doubled the cost of education for trainees, and those wishing to teach subjects to Junior Cert or Leaving Cert level may have to accumulate extra course credits on top of this.


Council director Tomás Ó Ruairc said, “The qualifications assessment process is designed to ensure that those who qualify in other countries to become a teacher meet the same standards as those who qualified in Ireland. This is only fair and proper.”

He said teachers can apply with the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), the UK equivalent of the Hdip “but they will have conditions applied relating to the shortfall in their qualifications which must be fulfilled within three years.

“In light of the recent changes whereby all post-graduate routes to teaching in Ireland are now two years in duration, these shortfalls are likely to be significant.”

Asked about a complaint from one student who had been waiting six months for her application to be processed, during which time she couldn’t work, he said he couldn’t discuss individual cases.

But he pointed out that a teacher could seek employment while awaiting recognition for a second or third subject so long as they met initial registration standards.

He added the council reviewed its schedule of fees on an annual basis and always listened to feedback on issues of this nature.

A number of complaints have emerged from graduates in science and humanities who had planned to go into teaching but discovered the coursework from their primary degrees didn’t tally with the council’s curriculum requirements.

Mr O Ruairc said the new criteria for teaching post-primary subjects had been on the council’s website since September 2013, and were disseminated widely at that time to higher education institutions, career guidance bodies and others.

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys

Joe Humphreys is an Assistant News Editor at The Irish Times and writer of the Unthinkable philosophy column