I wrote back in April on this website about Droichead, the proposed new pilot project for induction and probation of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) developed by the Teaching Council. The proposed pilot project was due to take place in in the seven counties which traditionally attracted the highest number of NQTs (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Kildare, Meath and Wexford). Across these counties, the Council proposed to involve approximately 200 primary and 100 post primary schools in the pilot project.
However, the decision by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) today to issue a directive to its members not to participate in the pilot project pending the outcome of a vote by its members has surely thrown the proposed pilot project into disarray. The Teaching Council has said that it is surprised by the INTO move, given that the INTO has “such a proud record of encouraging and supporting professional development for teachers”. It also referred to the INTO directive as a “potentially retrograde step” which would have implications for the probation of NQTs. It further added:
The Council is also concerned as to the impact this stance may have on NQTs seeking probation for registration purposes next year, as it may lead to further delays in the process for them.
The INTO stance stems from a resolution passed at Annual Congress this year which partly demanded a consultation process with members on the proposed pilot induction and probation scheme. The INTO today said that “it would not be possible to report back to members on the outcome of the consultation and to conduct a vote until the Autumn term”. It was for this reason that they directed members, in the interim, not to participate in the scheme. It is not known as yet what the position of the secondary teachers’ unions, ASTI and TUI, are on the scheme.