Maths crisis and teaching


Sir, – I was concerned to read about Dr Helene Suttle’s frustration in realising her ambition to become a teacher, and in particular her claim that “the Teaching Council does not accept engineering degrees for registration of mathematics teachers” (July 5th). It may help to clarify a number of issues in this regard.

I would like to reassure your readers that the Teaching Council has a well-established process, whereby candidates applying for registration on the basis of qualifications in a curricular subject can pursue any one of a number of pathways to address shortfalls in the content that they have covered. The council has already identified a number of these pathways by which engineering graduates can address the shortfalls in their qualifications as they relate to the teaching of maths. It is open to considering other proposals from third-level institutions for modules of study to address this area of critical need.

There is, of course, a bigger picture here. We believe that teaching is the most important profession in our society, second only in importance to parenthood in terms of its impact on our lives. It encompasses a high level of pedagogical skills and also a deep and comprehensive knowledge base. That knowledge base must be of direct relevance to the syllabus or curriculum to be delivered.

As the statutory body charged with setting and maintaining standards in teaching, the council would be doing a disservice to the profession and to the public were it to accept anything less from those wishing to enter the profession.

We in the Teaching Council are responsible for the quality of teaching of all subjects in our schools to our children and young people.

We work with all stakeholders to ensure that this quality is of the highest standard. Our current and future students deserve no less. – Yours, etc,


The Teaching Council,

Maynooth Business Campus,

Co Kildare.