6 June 2020
By Bryan Smyth
Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North West Aindrias Moynihan has welcomed confirmation from the Minister for Education that the Teaching Council are adopting a more flexible approach and are reviewing the process for trainee teachers who have still to to complete their qualifications in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Traditionally Newly Qualified Teachers are required to complete a 60 day block of classroom teaching before the end of the school year, however with the current public health restrictions, for some teachers that has not been possible.
Deputy Moynihan explained, “As a result of the schools closing in mid-March it has been impossible for some Newly Qualified Teachers to complete the traditional 60 day classroom teaching requirement. These teachers have been continuing with their teaching through remote classes, as well as participating in all of the school activities that their fully qualified counterparts are undertaking.
“I am pleased that the Teaching Council has now committed to reviewing the process for awarding the qualification by recognising their work over the past three months as part of their Droichead training.
“In his reply to me Minister McHugh states, “The Council has made a significant concession for NQTs who had not completed the full Droichead process within the minimum period of time by 12 March. This includes the recognition of all elements of Droichead which have been completed up to that date i.e. additional professional learning activities, observations, professional conversations, cluster meetings, Taisce (the professional learning portfolio) and days/hours taught”.
“This common-sense approach is what’s needed at this time. These trainee teachers have adapted to the exceptional circumstances brought about by this pandemic and this is being rightly recognised.
“A decision on the review is expected within the next fortnight and I will be monitoring the outcome.
“The fact of the matter is that with the current social distancing guidelines in place we will need more, not fewer teachers in our schools when they reopen. I am pleased that the Teaching Council is prepared to show some flexibility on this, given the current circumstances, which are beyond these trainee teachers’ control, and I am hopeful that a mechanism can be put in place for those who have yet to complete their minimum requirement”.