Holding schools and teachers to account

 

Sir, – In response to Bill Reidy’s call for more performance-management for teachers (Change One Thing, Education, January 21st), it is important to emphasise that teachers are already subject to multiple levels of accountability. Second-level schools are subject to four different methods of inspection and teachers are also subject to the Teaching Council’s code of professional conduct.

Mr Reidy quotes OECD research from 2008 on teacher appraisals in his opening paragraph. A more recent finding from the same body’s Government At A Glance report last year shows that out of 34 countries surveyed, Ireland enjoys the highest level of public satisfaction with the education system and schools with a ranking of 82 per cent compared to the OECD average of 66 per cent.

December’s Pisa comparisons also endorse the high levels of quality in the Irish education system despite deep and damaging cuts in teacher numbers and attacks on programmes that help the most vulnerable students.

These international findings are echoed by the recent Chief Inspector’s Report which shows that 87 per cent of parents are happy with the teaching standards in second-level schools. In addition, Irish teachers engage in both formal and countless informal meetings with parents. Furthermore, there is a time honoured tradition of collegial accountability in the profession which also ensures that teachers work to the very highest standards. – Yours, etc,

GERARD P

CRAUGHWELL,

President,

Teachers’ Union of Ireland,

Orwell Road,

Rathgar, Dublin 6.