Woods, Michael J.

Wednesday, 28 March 2001

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 533 No. 4

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Adjournment Debate Matters. - Teaching Council Bill, 2000: Report Stage.

I listened carefully to the point made by the Deputy but in my view the Bill already covers this matter. Eligibility for registration with the teaching council is outlined in section 31. Any person wh...More Button

The position the amendment would create would be one in which only qualified teachers could teach in schools. The Deputy will know—More Button

—that to ensure that only qualified teachers be employed or work as teachers in schools—More Button

That is already the objective.More Button

It is indeed. That is the objective as it stands. We are moving towards achieving that objective but there will also be a need in some areas for substitute teachers whom I do not wish to exclude. The ...More Button

Deputies will note that the Bill explicitly provides for the teachers' unions to have representation on the council, not to act as members of the union but as wider representatives of the teaching pro...More Button

One of the council's important functions will be “to establish, publish, review and maintain codes of professional conduct for teachers, which shall include standards of teaching, knowledge, skill and...More Button

In the preparation of the Bill this matter was the subject of considerable discussion and has been agreed by the profession.More Button

It is an important aspect which, as the Deputy will realise, does apply. If the council will not do it, it will have an important function taken away from it. I refer the Deputy to the Medical Council...More Button

It is a question of maintaining standards.More Button

I have to deal with situations where there are abuses of one kind or another. Inspectors deal with such cases as they come though the system. Under the new legislation, however, the profession will de...More Button

I understand the Deputy's concerns in this regard. He mentioned drawing a line, but I will not talk about sand since it shifts a little. The role of the teaching council can only be to set out the sta...More Button

We checked this matter with the Parliamentary Counsel and sought his advice. I am assured that the position of a person who is registered, in the first instance, will be safeguarded from the establish...More Button

They do happen on occasion. However, I would rely on the advice of the Parliamentary Counsel in respect of legislation. Amendment put and declared lost.More Button

We did discuss it. Amendment put and declared lost.More Button

Most of the information referred to should be freely available. There is no good reason it should be otherwise unless—More Button

As the Deputy said, all hell would break loose which means that people are interested in the matter. While it is valuable and important that the council should advise the Minister on a range of matter...More Button

Following Committee Stage and having been advised by my colleague of the Deputy's concerns, I discussed the wording again with my legal advisers. I have been advised that there is no substantive or le...More Button

Private Members' Business. - Teaching Council Bill, 2000: Report Stage (Resumed).

With regard to Deputy Burke's closing remarks, I point out that school principals served on both the steering committee and the technical working group, which were responsible for drawing up this plan...More Button

The unions, teachers and school principals were all represented, in different capacities, on those bodies. The membership of the teaching council outlined in the Bill exactly reflects the proposals p...More Button

I have explained to the Deputies that it is a balanced formula arrived at with great difficulty, by teachers, their union representatives, parents' groups and other relevant bodies to which they could...More Button

They will get it.More Button

The Deputy will be aware that the Bill already contains a requirement at section 8(6) and section 24(10) that the Minister must have regard to the appropriateness of gender balance in making appointme...More Button

As near as we can come to it. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

The steering group recommended that electoral procedures be adopted to include membership of all sectors of the profession, both primary and post-primary. The group further stated that it would be imp...More Button

I sought clarification from a draftsman. The purpose of the register on the one hand is to serve as a clear indicator by the profession to the public, of the membership of the profession, and their qu...More Button

There were various difficulties and I have had discussions with the unions in relation to this. We are making practical arrangements. I appreciate the point that the Deputy is making. I am advised tha...More Button

I have sought legal advice on the amendment. I have been assured that the Bill as currently worded would not preclude the council from deciding to proceed with some form of automatic renewal. I apprec...More Button

I note the points the Deputy has made but, in my view, this subsection is an important bedrock for the council, ensuring the maintenance of high quality standards in the teaching profession. The natur...More Button

The Bill provides that the director can rule out frivolous complaints. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.More Button

Section 42(1)(a) lists some of the grounds for initiating a fitness to teach inquiry. These are failure to comply with or contravention of any provision of this Act, the Education Act, 1998, the Educ...More Button

It will be the teaching council's responsibility to ensure it obtains the best independent medical advice available and I am confident it will do so. It was suggested that a chief medical officer coul...More Button

I do not expect this provision to be used other than in a very exceptional circumstance where either the board of management of a school or a vocational education committee would not be in a position ...More Button

I have taken legal advice on this matter and have been advised that it will be the council's responsibility to ensure that provision for representation is made in its rules of procedure. It is not des...More Button

It would be the disciplinary committee's responsibility to judge each case on its merits and to apply appropriate sanctions. Amendment No. 33 is not necessary as the only action the High Court could t...More Button

The council can already provide an initial lesser penalty under 44(c)(iv) which states “such other conditions as the Disciplinary Committee thinks fit”. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Amendments Nos....More Button

Adjournment Debate. - Schools Building Projects.

I am glad the Deputy has given me the opportunity of outlining to the House the current position regarding this school. At present, the school has a staffing level of one principal, six mainstream cla...More Button

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Was asked: if he will confirm the appointment of a full time remedial teacher to Guardian Angels national school, Newtownpark Avenue, Blackrock, County Dublin, as a matter of urgency.More Button

I understand that the school to which the Deputy refers already has the services of a remedial teacher on a full-time basis.More Button

Written Answers. - Pension Provisions.

Was asked: the knock-on impact on the level of payment of pensions for retired teachers of any increases in salary secured through the benchmarking process.More Button

I am not in a position at present to address the possible outcome of the benchmarking exercise under the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. Currently, the pensions of retired teachers are increas...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Refurbishment.

Was asked: the position with regard to the renovation of Cornogee national school, Downa, County Leitrim.More Button

The board of management of Cornagee national school, County Leitrim, has recently been authorised to appoint a design team to commence architectural planning for refurbishment and ancillary accommodat...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: the position with regard to the proposed extension to Carrick-on-Shannon Community School, County Leitrim.More Button

My Department has recently received a completed educational worksheet from the management authority of Carrick-on Shannon Community School. Schedules of accommodation are currently being drawn up, bas...More Button

Written Answers. - Substance Misuse Prevention.

Was asked: the funding his Department has spent over the past five years for advertising or information documentation for use in educational institutions to protect pupils from drug abuse; and if he will make a ...More Button

Substance misuse prevention programmes are in operation in both primary and second level schools and were developed by my Department in consultation with the partners in education and other relevant i...More Button

Written Answers. - Teachers' Pay.

Was asked: if he will have investigations made into the reason a person (details supplied) in County Kildare was not paid while on sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

Qualified teachers in primary schools are allowed a maximum of 365 days paid sick leave in any period of four consecutive working years, but unqualified teachers have no such entitlement. The teacher ...More Button

Written Answers. - Schools Building Projects.

Was asked: when an extension will be sanctioned for a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo.More Button

My Department has received an application from the management authorities of the school in question for grant-aid towards an extension. However, in view of the large number of school building projects...More Button

Was asked: the progress of the application submitted by Lismire national school, County Cork, for a proposed extension.More Button

In view of the large number of school building projects currently being dealt with by my Department at present and the priority to be afforded to such projects, it is not possible at this point to giv...More Button

Written Answers. - Disadvantaged Status.

Was asked: the reason a school (details supplied) in County Mayo is not included in the disadvantaged status area; and if he will make a statement on the application lodged and the analysis accorded to it by his...More Button

The Deputy will be aware that last January I launched a major new programme, Giving Children An Even Break, to deal with educational disadvantage in primary schools. The new programme will be run over...More Button

Written Answers. - State Examinations.

Was asked: his views on the concerns of leaving certificate and junior certificate students in Tramore, County Waterford; and if he will make a statement on the matter.More Button

I assure the Deputy and all students and their parents that the 2001 certificate examin ations will proceed without any diminution in either the integrity or validity of the examinations.More Button

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