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Minister McHugh welcomes third national consultative forum on teacher supply

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. today (Thursday November 28th) welcomed the third national consultative forum to be held under the Teacher Supply Action Plan.

In recognition of the significant challenges that some schools experience in recruiting teachers, the Teacher Supply Steering Group, chaired by the Secretary General of the Department, was established.

At primary level, the recruitment of substitute teachers is problematic while at post-primary the recruitment of teachers in certain specific subject areas, such as STEM, modern languages, as well as Irish and home economics is proving difficult.

Minister McHugh said:

The latest forum provides an opportunity for all of us who have a stake in education to consider and respond to the progress to date. It is also about offering new ideas.

Solutions to the current and future challenges on teacher supply requires the input and cooperation of stakeholders at all levels. There has been a hugely positive engagement across all parts of the education sector on this issue and the forum is a great opportunity to continue this work. We want our stakeholders to contribute further to our understanding of the issues and to secure the solutions we need to address teacher supply.


Notes for Editors

(a) Steering Group on Teacher Supply: The Steering Group on Teacher Supply is leading the development of a programme of actions on teacher supply and overseeing its implementation. The Steering Group is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills. The Group held its first meeting on 26 March 2018.

(b) Teacher Supply Structures: The Teacher Supply Implementation Group supports the work of the Steering Group. The Implementation Group is in turn supported in its work by a number of working groups which consider and report on particular issues.

(c) Teacher Supply Action Plan: The Teacher Supply Action Plan contains a range of priority actions identified through the work of the Steering Group and engagement with stakeholders. These actions are classified under four broad headings:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Promotion of the teaching profession
  • Higher education policy
  • Policies and arrangements for schools and teachers that impact on teacher supply and demand.

Actions to date include:

  • The “Teaching Transforms” campaign (digital, radio and video) is ongoing to promote the teaching profession, supported by a dedicated webpage.
  • Following engagement with the Higher Education Authority (HEA), the higher education institutions (HEIs) have put in place new post primary initial teacher education (ITE) undergraduate programmes in 2019 in a number of priority subject areas. More new programmes are also planned to commence in September 2020.
  • The HEA is engaging with the HEIs to explore the development of programmes to upskill existing teachers in targeted post primary subject areas.
  • The Teaching Council has reviewed the implementation of student teacher school placement guidelines and a report on this is expected in due course.
  • Stakeholder consultative forums and focus groups for teachers, principals, parents, student teachers and school students have been held with further forums and focus groups planned over the coming school year to inform ongoing policy to address teacher supply challenges.
  • An online teacher recruitment portal to match available teachers with short term substitute vacancies in primary and post primary schools is being developed. It is intended that this portal will be operational shortly.
  • Substitute teacher supply panels for primary schools are operating on a pilot basis for 2019/20 in 6 locations that have been identified as having a significant challenge in recruiting substitute teachers (two panels in Dublin and one each in Kildare, Meath, Cork and Galway).
  • The Department published Circular 0015/2019 with details of a new teacher sharing scheme for post-primary schools. The scheme is intended to enhance curricular choice in schools and support young teachers in obtaining full time employment.

The Teacher Supply Action Plan is available here: