22 May, 2019 - Ministers McHugh and Mitchell O’Connor welcome progress to date on Reform of Teacher Education in Ireland

Review published today by the HEA indicates significant progress in reform of the initial teacher education landscape, since 2012  

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. and Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. welcomed the publication today (22May 2019) by the Higher Education Authority of The Structure of Teacher Education in Ireland: Review of Progress in Implementing Reform

The review shows the level of progress already made towards achieving the vision for initial teacher education articulated in the pivotal 2012 Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education. Some of the highlights identified in the review include: 

  • The single-campus DCU Institute of Education, incorporating four separate institutions (DCU; St. Patrick’s College, Mater Dei Institute, and the Church of Ireland College), has become a reality.
  • Completion of the new education building at Maynooth University, which, along with the incorporation of Froebel College of Teacher Education into Maynooth University, facilitates strong interaction between staff across the full sectoral continuum from early years education, through primary and post-primary, to further and higher education.
  • Systemic cooperation between UCC and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) now means that student art teachers at CIT are integrated with UCC for the pedagogical elements of their training.
  • Progress toward the incorporation of St Angela's College into NUI Galway, with senior management teams in both institutions committed to the project.
  • Collaboration on research, continuing professional development and post-graduate programmes between Mary Immaculate College, UL and Limerick Institute of Technology, through the National Institute for Studies in Education (NISE).
  • Cooperation since 2012 between TCD, UCD, National College of Art and Design (NCAD) and Marino Institute of Education (MIE) to progress the aim of ensuring that teacher education should take place in a university setting, in a research-rich environment.  The report notes that the most sustained activity has been pursued along two parallel tracks: one of TCD and MIE and, the other, UCD and NCAD, and recommends that the two-track approach should now be accepted. 

Minister McHugh said: “This report shows the constructive engagement by the centres for teacher education with the HEA on progressing the programme of change, both in terms of structures and other areas, such as research capacity in the institutions concerned. 

“To continue this progress, the Department, in collaboration with the HEA and the Teaching Council, will be undertaking a structured engagement with the centres and other key stakeholders in the coming months, with a view to developing a comprehensive policy statement for initial teacher education. I would like to compliment Professors Sahlberg and Hyland, and the staff of the HEA Executive, for their work in producing this review.” 

Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “It is imperative that our student teachers have the best possible experience in initial teacher education, to prepare them, in turn, to educate our young people. 

“The changes that have taken place in the last few years will all strengthen the provision of initial teacher education. Implementing the 2012 report, the work of the Teaching Council, the impact of the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy and other policy developments are all having an impact. The Department’s work on a policy statement for initial teacher education will provide an opportunity to take stock of all these policy developments, in consultation with the sector.”