Tuesday 17 September 2019

First fitness-to-practise teaching case to be held in public next month

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

The first hearing into a teacher's fitness to practise in an Irish school will take place next month.

While the hearing will be held in public, it is understood that the teacher at the centre of the case will not be identified.

The hearing, which will take place over two days, November 8 and 9, is the first under legislation that was enacted last year.

Such hearings, similar to those conducted for doctors and nurses, will investigate cases of under-performance and serious misconduct.

To reach a hearing, a complaint has to go through a Teaching Council Investigation Committee, which makes a decision on whether it merits being forwarded to a disciplinary committee.

Complaints that are considered frivolous or vexatious will not progress to a formal hearing.

A panel, made up mainly of teachers, will conduct the hearings.

The default position is that hearings will be held in public, but there are circumstances where some or all of the evidence may be given in private.

In extreme cases, teachers may be 'struck off' the professional register. Lesser penalties include suspension, admonishment or an offer of support to improve performance.

Experience in Scotland and Wales suggests that in Ireland up to 30 teachers a year could face a disciplinary hearing.

Irish Independent

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