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Fitness to Teach


Fitness to Teach will as of today allow members of the public, parents, students, an employer or a teacher to make a complaint against a registered teacher to the Teaching Council. Fitness to Teach falls under the Teaching Council Act 2001-2015.

Complaints concerning professional misconduct or poor professional performance can now be directed to the Teaching Council, but present procedures of complaints made at school level will remain in place.

“Today is a very important milestone. Fitness to Teach will allow parents and others who have a concern about a registered teacher to bring that concern to the Teaching Council for adjudication for the first time. This will give parents confidence that the high quality and standards of the teaching profession will be maintained. Each inquiry which is convened by the Teaching Council must be fair, transparent and effective,” Minister of Education, Mr. Richard Bruton, TD announced today.

The Minister said that the introduction of Fitness to Teach will not interfere in any way with the right of school leadership to take action to deal with particular situations that arise at school level.

He continued saying: “Teachers will also be protected too under the new arrangements and with the exception of the less serious cases, sanctions can be appealed to the High Court.”

The complaints procedure is to make a complaint under Fitness to Teach, and this will ultimately lead to an inquiry. Inquiries are held in public by the Teaching Council. In some instances a hearing may be held in private.

If the Council is satisfied that there is no grounds for the complaint, it will be accepted that there is no case to answer to, but if a teacher is to found guilty of misconduct sanctions will be put in place.

These sanctions could include a teacher’s removal from the register, a teacher being removed from the payroll or the teacher might be provided with advice. If a teacher is not happy with the Council’s decision they may apply to the High Court for an annulment.

“That’s why professional standards matter so much and why it’s vital that a formal mechanism exists to allow for the investigation of complaints. The Fitness to Teach complaints process, therefore, is about improving teaching, not punishing teachers. It will be about reassuring the public and the profession as to the quality of teaching and learning that all learners can expect in our schools,” the Director of the Teaching Council, Mr. Tomás Ó Ruairc said.

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