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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 23 Jun 1998

Vol. 492 No. 7

Written Answers. - Teaching Qualifications.

Noel Ahern


378 Mr. N. Ahern asked the Minister for Education and Science the changes, if any, made or under consideration to remove the necessary requirement to have Irish qualifications for primary teachers from Northern Ireland working as special class teachers; if the situation for a person (details supplied) who is working as a special class teacher for several years can be regularised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15243/98]

My Department recently issued Circular 19/98 which details the new arrangements concerning the employment of teachers in special schools and special classes attached to ordinary national schools. Under these new provisions, teachers who have trained outside the State and who wish to teach in the following categories of school will no longer be required to possess an Irish language qualification and will be granted restricted recognition: schools and classes for pupils with a severe and profound mental handicap; schools and classes for pupils with a mild mental handicap; schools and classes for pupils with a moderate mental handicap; schools and classes for pupils with a hearing impairment; schools and classes for pupils with an emotional or severe emotional disturbance; schools and classes for pupils with multiple disability; classes for children with specific speech and language disorders.

Such teachers must have a general primary teacher qualification recognised by my Department and must also possess (a) a recognised post-graduate qualification in a particular aspect of special education relevant to the particular type of special school or special class; or (b) completed a basic primary teaching training course which incorporated substantial modules on special education and supervised teaching practice in special schools or classes; or (c) a minimum of three years' satisfactory teaching experience in special schools or classes.

Teachers with restricted recognition who teach in special schools or in special classes in ordinary schools as specified above in either a temporary or permanent capacity will be admitted to the superannuation scheme and will be paid salary by reference to the incremental salary scale. This new category of teachers with restricted recognition will apply retrospectively from 1 September 1997. All individuals wishing to avail of special recognition should make their request in writing to the primary administration section of my Department in Athlone.

My Department has not to date received a written request for restricted recognition from the person to whom the Deputy refers. On receipt of such a request my Department will process the matter promptly.