Coughlan unveils reforms to improve teaching
NEWLY qualified teachers at both primary and post-primary levels will have to undergo a new induction and probationary programme.
The reform, which will be announced today by Education Minister Mary Coughlan, is to be phased in from September.
Aimed at improving teacher quality, it will involve more rigorous assessment and inspection in the nation's classrooms.
Ms Coughlan will outline details of the new programme at the MacGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.
She believes that Ireland has significant weaknesses in helping newly qualified teachers to take charge of a classroom.
Ms Coughlan says that a teacher's first months and year in a post are critical.
She says that at the moment, induction support for teachers at primary level is limited.
And, with a small number of exceptions, induction support at post-primary level is virtually non-existent.
The minister says the probationary process for teachers is "also well below the optimum".
At primary level, it excludes any meaningful involvement of school management; while at post-primary, it involves, in most cases, the sign-off of a principal teacher without any observation of the teacher's work in the classroom.
The Teaching Council will be empowered to take responsibility for the reforms from 2012, but it is being phased in from September with an induction programme.
All primary teachers qualifying from September of this year will undergo induction immediately and all new post-primary teachers by the end of December.