Dáil Éireann - Volume 668 - 25 November, 2008

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

[787] Deputy Brian Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many newly qualified teachers in primary schools have been told that they will not be able to partake in their diploma courses as normal in their first year of teaching owing to a shortage of school inspectors; the numbers involved; if his Department has plans to recruit external assessors to help alleviate their problem; if increments will be backdated in the future to take account of a newly qualified teacher having to wait until their second year of teaching to obtain their diploma; if his Department will facilitate newly qualified teachers with scholarships pending to do masters who need to have their diploma completed before July 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42292/08]

  Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: The diploma courses referred to by the Deputy involve a post-qualification probationary period, normally a year, during which a newly qualified primary teacher is employed in a primary school where his/her work is evaluated by an inspector. The parameters surrounding the probationary process are outlined in Circular 0140/2006. Schools are advised in June each year to notify the Department of teachers who may be eligible for probation. A series of dates is nominated for submission of applications: round 1 by the end of June; round 2 by the middle of September; round 3 by the beginning of November; and round 4 by the middle of January.

With regard to the 2008/9 year, the current position is that 2445 of the 2537 teachers who registered for probation during rounds 1,2 and 3 have been deemed eligible. Of these 2445 teachers, 1953 have been assigned to inspectors at present. The unassigned cases are mainly in the greater Dublin/ East Coast area and this situation has arisen mainly because of the concentration of probationary teachers in that area. Arrangements are being made at present to assign the remaining 492 cases and it is expected that all the teachers concerned will be notified within the next few weeks. Increments are granted annually to teachers subject to service being satisfactory and are not conditional on the completion of probation in the first year. The granting of scholarships and the terms of such scholarships is a matter for the awarding body.