Between last September and next September, we will have employed 4,600 extra teachers. We are putting teachers back into our school process and this means that teachers, who were emigrating and not able to find places, are finding places in our schools.
A technical working group was set up by the Teaching Council to formulate advice on teacher supply. The group produced an interim report which was published in July 2015. The interim report identified the significant challenges in developing a model of workforce planning for teachers in Ireland. Among the difficulties identified were gaps in data in the dispersed Irish model, the mixture of pathways into teaching and the significant levels of migration. The group also observed that it is a more complex task at post-primary because there is currently no central mechanism for matching the overall subject need requirements of schools with output from the education providers and, in addition, schools have significant autonomy in relation to the mix of subjects and choices they provide for students.
At that point the group indicated that it was too early to make recommendations. The technical working group continued its work and submitted a final report, which included 14 recommendations, together with some additional advice by the council, to my predecessor, Deputy Jan O'Sullivan, in December 2015. The report sets out an approach to planning which scopes out the work necessary to develop a model for teacher supply in the medium to longer term. The approach provides for the identification, collection and validation of data from a range of sources to be followed by a period in which a model for projecting demand and supply of teachers is developed and tested. This work will involve consultation so that there is buy in from relevant stakeholders, including teacher education providers.
The report recognises that the implementation of its recommendations will have significant resource implications, including staffing, and I will not be in a position to progress this aspect in the current year. In the Action Plan for Education for 2017, I have committed to the publication of the report in the first quarter together with the actions necessary for the implementation of its recommendations. This approach will provide further clarity for addressing this complex issue.