Thursday, 29 September 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
67. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the professional development for teachers support service intends to have an Irish version of the website; the reason there remains an English only version of the website; and the way he intends to raise the standard of Irish taught in schools if the primary website for teachers in-service remains available in English only. [26738/11]
70. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied that he is complying with the Official Languages Act 2003 in view of the fact that the professional development for teacher support website remains only in English; if he is satisfied that all personnel who provide the support service have the ability to deliver services through Irish; if he is satisfied that PDST supplies all materials and resources in Irish; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26741/11]
The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) is in the process of developing its website. The current website is a holding page and is available in English only. Work is underway on reviewing the extensive bank of resources developed by the former support services with regard to their ongoing relevance. The materials selected for the new website will then be translated.
The PDST provides bilingual versions of its documentation, materials and resources. Where the PDST engages in face to face support with teachers and schools, documentation including presentations and handouts are provided through the language medium of the school.
The PDST has a number of personnel with the necessary Irish language skills to support Gaelscoileanna. Whilst the level of resources available has fallen in recent times in accordance with overall budgetary constraints, the PDST has recently recruited additional personnel, a number of whom have the capacity to provide a service through Irish
68. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that on the professional development for teacher support service there are post-primary tutors giving in-service to primary teachers and, vice versa, primary teachers providing in-service to post-primary teachers; the measures he will take to address this situation; and his views that such practices are conductive to delivering a high standard of in-service of teachers. [26739/11]
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): A national cross-sectoral Professional Development Support Service for Teachers was established in September 2010 to support the sharing and development of expertise, best pedagogical practice, skills and competencies across the primary and post-primary sectors.
A cross-sectoral approach to continuing professional development (CPD) aims to streamline, coordinate and prevent a duplication of available resources in the system and seeks to ensure cohesion and coherence across all sectors. This supports the achievement of appropriate teaching and learning standards and the development of a reflective, enquiry-oriented, life-long learning approach to the teaching profession.
The Department is committed to the facilitation of a sustained national effort to promote a smooth and seamless transition at each point of change in the education system including the transition between primary and post-primary schools.
A range of cross-sectoral continuing professional development models are provided and are complimented by differentiated sectoral models of CPD linked to the identified specific needs of primary and/or post-primary teachers.
69. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the feedback forms which are completed by the attendees on the professional development for teachers support in-service course are read and analysed by either the staff on PDTS or by his Department officials; and the changes that have been made as a result of the analysis of feedback forms. [26740/11]
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): The aim of the continuing professional development (CPD) provided by all support services is to enhance and maintain the quality of teaching and learning in our schools. In designing its continuing professional development (CPD) programmes, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), which is staffed by expert practitioners, consults as appropriate with other experts in the area of educational provision such as the Inspectorate of my Department, and external bodies such as the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment.
The Department’s primary means of gathering evidence about quality and evaluating the effectiveness of teaching and learning is the inspection process in schools. The reports of my Department’s inspectorate inform CPD planning on an ongoing basis. In addition, feedback from participants at in-service events is collected and analysed and this serves as evidence of quality as well as in informing the development of future provision.
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