Functions of Council
The Teaching Council was established under the Teaching Council Act 2001 as an independent body. Its objects are to regulate the teaching profession and the professional conduct of teachers. It also establishes and promotes the improvement of standards in
- teacher education and training,
- teacher competence in primary and post-primary schools,
- professional conduct.
It promotes continuing education and training and professional development of teachers.
In fulfilling the above objectives, the Council may
- promote teaching as a profession,
- establish and maintain codes of professional conduct
- establish a register of teachers.
- determine the education and training qualifications required for registration
- establish procedures in relation to the probation and induction of teachers.
The Council may conduct inquiries into the fitness to teach of any registered teacher It may commission and publish research. It may represent the teaching profession on educational issues. It acts as the competent authority for recognition of teachers for EU purposes. It may cooperate with its Northern Ireland equivalent.
The Teaching Council is appointed by the Ministers and it is to include
- 11 primary school teachers, 9 elected by teachers and 2 appointed by recognised trade unions.
- 11 post-primary school teachers, seven elected by teachers and four nominated by trade unions.
- 2 nominated jointly by the Primary Teacher’s Education Colleges.
- 2 nominated jointly by the universities.
- 4 nominated by recognised school management organisations,
- 2 nominated by national associations of parents,
- 5 nominated by the Minister,
- 1 nominated by IBEC and
- 1 by the Congress of Trade Unions.
The 2015 Act provides for bodies providing primary and post primary teacher education to nominate persons to the Minister for appointment to the council.
There are provisions for election of members of the Council. Owing to questions over the appointment of the first Council legislation was passed in 2006 to confirm their appointment.
Register of Teachers
The Council establishes Register of Teachers. It prescribes information to be entered in the register which may include
- personal particulars of teacher qualifications,
- registration number,
- employer details,
- disciplinary findings,
- other information.
The Register is to be published in such form as the Council considers appropriate. It is to be kept at the Council’s offices and may be inspected on terms described by the Council.
Teachers in recognised schools who are not registered or have been from registration must not be paid out of monies provided by the State.
The Council may make regulations providing for conditions of registration including those
- related to qualification,
- evidence of character,
- teaching experience,
- medical fitness.
The Council may refuse to register persons who do not satisfy the criteria for registration. Where the Council makes the decision not to register a person as a teacher, the person concerned must be given notice of the decision and may apply to the High Court for an annulment of the decision.
The application must be made during the period of registration. If a registered teacher fails to apply, the Council will give notice of this and give a further month in which to make application for registration.
The information to be entered in the register is to include where the registration is subject to any conditions of the type mentioned below and the information is those by the most recent vetting disclosure. The provisions relating to publishing the register and making it available for inspection and providing copies are subject to any rule of law or legislation which prohibits disclosure of the information.
Provision is made for regulations for the purpose of registration. Documentary and other evidence may be required for the purpose of determining the application and to enable the Council consider satisfied self to the persons are fit and proper person to be admitted to the register.
Conditions may be attached to registration such as in respect of completion of a probationary period. Registration may be issued subject to conditions for a specified period. Failure to comply with the condition leads to deregistration. Registration is valid for 12 months and must be renewed.
A teacher who has been removed from the register may apply to the Council for new registration as if it was a first registration.
The Council may make regulations for the purposes of renewal of registration of registered teachers which shall provide for, but not necessarily be limited to, all or any of the following:
- the form and manner in which an application for renewal shall be made;
- the documentary and other evidence which the Council may request for the purposes of determining an application for renewal of registration;
- the documentary and other evidence which the Council may request to enable the Council to satisfy itself, for the purposes of subsection (8), that a registered teacher is a fit and proper person to have his or her registration renewed;
- any other requirements to be met for renewal of registration which may include requirements relating to—
- satisfactory completion of programmes of continuing education and training accredited under section 39,
- teaching experience, or
- medical fitness.
Teacher may apply to the High Court to annul a decision to refuse to renew registration or to renew registration subject to conditions. The High Court may on hearing the application confirm the decision, direct renewal or give such other directions as it considers appropriate.
The Council shall not register a person unless satisfied, unless it has received a vetting disclosure and is satisfied that the person are fit and proper person to be registered having considered the disclosure and any submissions made by the person in relation to the disclosure in any other documentary evidence.
Where the vetting disclosure contain certain specified information in relation to conduct before the legislation came into effect, the Council may not consider it in relation to determining whether the person is fit and proper person unless it would have constituted the criminal offence at that time.
Where information received on part of a vetting disclosure which the Council considers relevant, it shall give the person concerned the opportunity to make submission. It may seek evidence from the applicant or other persons to verify any information submitted.
Consent must be given to the vetting application and information provided to the Council to enable it, obtain a vetting disclosure. The Council may refuse consent of registration if the person does not consent to vetting or to provision of other information. It shall refuse registration if it does not satisfy that the person is a fit and proper person to be admitted.
Vetting on Renewal
Where the Council intends to seek a vetting disclosure, on renewal it is required to notify the teacher concerned of the intention. It must be issued not more than 10 months prior to the renewal date or such lesser period as the minister may direct. Teacher is required to comply with the vetting requirement within the time period specified [the above applies to renewal of registrations].
In considering whether to seek a vetting disclosure in respect of a registered teacher, the Council shall have regard to—
- whether a GCVU disclosure has previously been received by the Council in respect of that teacher,
- where a GCVU disclosure has previously been received by the Council in respect of that teacher, the period of time which has elapsed since the last GCVU disclosure was received by the Council in respect of that teacher,
- whether a vetting disclosure has previously been received by the Council in respect of that teacher,
- where a vetting disclosure has previously been received by the Council in respect of that teacher, the period of time which has elapsed since the last vetting disclosure was received by the Council in respect of that teacher, and
- where the Council has previously considered a vetting disclosure in respect of a teacher for the purposes of registration or renewal of registration under this Act, any periods prescribed under section 20 of the Act of 2012.
Refusal of Renewal
The Council may refuse to renew the registration of a person where—
- he or she does not satisfy the requirements for renewal of registration prescribed
- at the time the Council makes its decision, the person— stands removed from the register and is not eligible to apply to be restored to the register , or
- stands suspended from the register and the period of suspension has not expired, the registered teacher fails to comply with the noticeu within the time specified in the notice, and having considered the submissions and information (if any) submitted , the Council has not been in a position to determine if that registered teacher is a fit and proper person to have his or her registration renewed,
The Council shall refuse to renew the registration of the registered teacher where—
- the Council receives a vetting disclosure in respect of a registered teacher under this section and is not satisfied, in accordance with subsection (8), that the registered teacher is a fit and proper person to have his or her registration renewed, or
- the Council is not satisfied that the teacher has provided reasonable grounds for his or her failure to comply with a request or
- may renew the registration of a registered teacher subject to such conditions (if any) as the Council considers appropriate and such conditions shall be complied with within such period as may be specified by the Council.
Decision and Appeal
Where the Council makes a decision to refuse to renew the registration of a person, or to renew the registration of a person subject to conditions, the Council shall, within 21 days of making the decision, inform the person, by notice in writing, of the decision, the reason for the decision and the rights of the person.
A person may, within 21 days of the date of service of a notice un, apply to the High Court for annulment of the decision concerned and the Court, on hearing the application, may—
- confirm the decision of the Council,
- annul the decision of the Council and as the Court considers appropriate— direct the Council to renew the registration of the person with or without conditions, as the cse may be, or) direct the Council to make a further decision,
- vary the decision of the Council, or
- give such other directions to the Council as the Court considers appropriate,
and the Court may make such order as to costs as it considers appropriate.
Teacher Education and Training
The Council advises the Minister in relation to
- minimum education standards for teacher education and training,
- professional development,
- teachers’ supply and
- any other appropriate matte
The Council must review and accredit programmes of teacher education and training provided by institutes of higher education, review the standards of education and training appropriate for a person entering the programme and review standards of knowledge, skill and competence required for the practice of teaching.