I propose to take Questions Nos. 194, 196, 203, 207, 216, 250, 306, 317, 318 and 322 together.
The Teaching Council is the statutory body with responsibility for professional standards at all stages of the teaching career. It has established standards for post-qualification professional practice, as set out in Droichead, the integrated professional induction framework for newly qualified primary and post-primary teachers.
Due to Covid-19 and the unprecedented situation of school closures, on May 22nd last the Teaching Council announced revised arrangements which provide additional flexibility to support newly qualified teachers (NQTs) engaging in Droichead in 2019/2020 to complete the process. These arrangements balance the core principles of the policy which is the school based supportive process coupled with engagement in additional professional learning activities.
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. In normal circumstances this would not be the position.
Droichead as a process is not simply about teaching time. From a professional standards point of view, it requires the agreement of the NQT and the Professional Support Team in the school that a quality induction process has occurred over the minimum period of time specified.
I am, however, also aware of concerns raised regarding a smaller group of NQTs who had not met the minimum time requirement by 12 March. I understand the Teaching Council intends to further review their situation i.e. how the Professional Support Teams and any NQTs who may be potentially affected can verify that a quality induction process has occurred throughout the period since 12 March in the context of remote teaching and learning.
The Teaching Council will communicate the outcome of this review to all concerned within the next two weeks.