UNDER-performing school teachers face the prospect of being sacked under radical measures to be introduced this year.
An official watchdog is getting stronger power to deal with teachers who don't perform.
Up to now, the Teaching Council, the regulatory body for teachers, didn't have power to remove poor teachers from their posts because necessary legislation was never enacted.
However, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn intends to toughen up existing guidelines which will give the Council far-reaching powers – up to and including the dismissal of a teacher.
The Council will now have the power to suspend a teacher from the Teaching Register for up to two years, or remove them entirely from the register for a 'specified period'.
If a teacher is suspended or removed from the register, they cannot be paid by the Department or the Education and Training Boards.
Mr Quinn says the legislation is a step towards the "full professionalisation of teaching", and is designed to significantly increase the powers available to the Council.
Jim Moore from the National Parents' Council Post Primary welcomed the news. He said: "If you look across the broad spectrum of professional services the possibility of dismissal has to be part of the situation. Every organisation has difficulties with performance levels, and we welcome the acknowledgement that it is an issue."