Over 5,000 additional teachers have been successfully recruited in the last two years and the numbers of graduates from initial teacher education programmes have remained broadly constant. In 2018 it is estimated that approximately 1,870 primary and 1,523 post primary teachers will graduate.
In November 2017 I launched a STEM Policy Statement and Implementation Plan, which aims to make Ireland the best in Europe in STEM by 2026. This Policy Statement focusses on the many strengths in STEM education in Ireland while providing a roadmap to address the areas for development.
In order to deliver on the ambition we have set to make Ireland the best at STEM education, we will need to increase teacher supply in key priority areas. At post primary level, we are considering the introduction of subject quotas in ITE programmes. We are also considering the introduction of “top up” or conversion courses to upskill teachers. I have also announced that I want to double the number of places on undergraduate course to train second level teachers, particularly in areas like STEM. Many of these courses are already offered in STEM subjects.
I intend shortly to establish a Teacher Supply Steering Group to develop a strategy for teacher supply. As part of its remit, the Group will consult with key stakeholders.
I will also ask the Teaching Council to review subject criteria and processes for assessing out of state qualifications and to engage more with graduate fairs, and final year students.