As Time Goes By - A brief view of INTO History
1868 - 1890
- INTO formed from amalgam of 71 local teacher associations with Vere Foster as first President.
- The report of the Powis Commission in 1870 recommends
security of tenure for teachers with three months'
notice of dismissal and an appeals procedure. It also
recommends payment by results.
- In 1875 the INTO succeeds in ensuring the provision
of teachers' residences.
- Establishment of contributory pension fund for
national teachers in 1879.
- National Board of Education allows for recruitment
to the Inspectorate from national teachers.
- Commissioners of National Education agree to
INTO demand for revision of school textbooks.
- INTO campaign tactics include branch motions,
area meetings, press coverage, petitions, questionnaires,
political lobbying, structured Annual Congresses and
the use of a professional journal The Irish Teachers'
1891 - 1920
- Maynooth Statute agreed in 1894.
- In 1899 Roman Catholic authorities in Tuam and Armagh ban the employment of INTO members in their schools because of the INTO stand on management of schools.
- Irish Protestant National Teachers' Union formed
in 1899 under the umbrella of INTO to handle managerial
issues affecting Protestant schools.
- In 1898 the Belmore Commission on National Education
urges a child-centred approach to education. It also
recommends a much wider curriculum (including science),
the adoption of heuristic teaching methods and a more
humane approach to discipline.
- In 1904 the INTO begins publishing the Irish
- Abolition of payment by results and the introduction
of incremental scales.
- The ban on employment of INTO members in the
Tuam and Armagh Dioceses was finally lifted in 1905.
- In 1907 the INTO Congress changes Organisation
Rules to allow for the election of two women to reserved
places on the CEC.
- In 1912 Catherine Mahon is elected first female
President of INTO.
- Salary paid directly to teachers on a monthly
basis from 1918.
- First full time General Secretary appointed in
1916 - Mr E Mansfield.
- INTO Head Office opens at 9 Gardiner Place, Dublin
- INTO Benevolent Fund established.
- In 1918 the INTO registers as a trade union and
affiliates with the Trade Union Congress.
- Members secede in 1919 to form the Ulster Teachers'
1921 - 1950
- INTO convenes a National Programme Conference
in 1922, which forms the basis of curricular policy
in the Irish Free State. Under the Programme several
subjects are dropped and the revival of the Irish language
and Gaelic culture are the central aims. Despite INTO
reservations about several aspects of the Programme,
including the all Irish infant school policy, the Government
presses ahead and the basic curricular philosophy and
structure remains virtually unchanged until 1971.
- Separate structures and operating procedures
evolve for the INTO in Northern Ireland and the Irish
Free State, but the INTO was maintained as a 32 county
- In 1923 the Government cuts teacher salaries by 10%.
- In 1924 the Department of Education is established.
- Government enacts a School Attendance Act in
1926 following successful lobbying by INTO.
- In 1927, at the urging of the INTO, a commission
on the Inspectorate results in improved working conditions
- In 1933 prominent INTO members move to make home
ownership possible for teachers by establishing the
Educational Building Society in the Teachers' Club in
- In 1937 the INTO succeeds in getting redeployment
rights through the establishment of Diocesan panels.
- In 1938 the Government enforces the early retirement
of women teachers. A marriage ban on women teachers
had been in force since 1934.
- Primary Certificate exam introduced in 1943.
- INTO unrest on salary levels results in the 1946
strike. Dublin teachers withdraw from schools while
the other members in the country contribute towards
their strike pay. The strike continues for seven months,
and ends with the intervention of Archbishop John Charles
- INTO researches and publishes several key policy
documents on education including A Plan for Education
- The enforced early retirement of women teachers
is rescinded in 1948.
- INTO successfully lobbies for the recognition
and establishment of a Special Education sector for
children with disabilities.
1951 - 1980
- Conciliation and Arbitration Scheme for Teachers
established in 1951.
- The marriage ban on women teachers is ended in 1958.
- In 1962 a strike by INTO members in Ballina effectively
puts an end to religious orders' takeovers of large
- In 1966 the Investment in Education Report supports
the contention of the INTO about the unsatisfactory
conditions and facilities in national schools. It is
also revealed that 22% of schools are deemed obsolete
by the Office of Public Works.
- INTO members take strike action in Ardfert, Co Kerry in 1968 to highlight the issue of substandard buildings.
- In 1967 INTO wins its case for the abolition
of the Primary Certificate which had been compulsory
- 1967 also sees the introduction of free post-primary
education and a school transport scheme.
- The INTO Education Committee is established in
1967. Head Office moves to 35 Parnell Square.
- New Curriculum issued in 1971 including aspects
such as art and crafts, an expanded music programme,
elementary science and physical education, which were
advocated by the INTO in its 1947 Plan for Education.
- In 1968 the Ryan Tribunal establishes a common
basic scale for primary and post-primary teachers. Other
allowances are introduced for extra qualifications and
promoted posts. A points weighting on children for the
calculation of promotion levels is also introduced.
- In 1974 the basic qualification for primary teaching
achieves university status with the introduction of
the B. Ed degree. The INTO had been seeking this change
since the turn of the century.
- In 1975 Management Boards for National Schools
are introduced involving representatives of the patron,
parents and teachers. The INTO continues to campaign
for equal representation.
- The Drimoleague strike about the appointment
of a principal in the Co. Cork school begins in 1976.
- Equal pay is introduced in 1977, abolishing the
differential whereby married men were on a different
scale to single men and women.
- A new magazine, Tuarascáil, is
published by the INTO.
- The INTO introduces Staff Representatives in
schools in 1979.
- The INTO publishes a major policy document on
Educational Disadvantage in 1979 which highlights several
key policy requirements.
- 1980 sees a major review of teachers' salaries
and allowances following a campaign by the teachers'
1981 - 1999
- In 1981 the INTO leads a successful campaign
against the Minister for Education's decision to
raise the school entry age from 4 to 4 1/2.
- Comhar Linn, a credit union for INTO members
and their families, is established in 1981.
- 1982 sees the end of the Drimoleague strike but
legal action continues until 1997.
- The INTO establishes a Third World Education
and Development Fund in 1983.
- The Government decides in 1985 not to honour
an independent arbitration award of 10% to teachers.
The three teachers' unions, under the banner of
Teachers United, vigorously campaign on the issue
including strike action and a rally in Croke Park of
20,000 teachers. The settlement involves the payment
of the award on a phased basis.
- 1985 sees the introduction of a Career Break
scheme for teachers.
- The INTO instigates an annual Education Conference,
which deals with policies on a wide range of education
topics including curriculum, inservice provision, information
technology in schools and assessment.
- The INTO establishes an Equality Committee in
- The INTO campaigns with management and parents
in 1987 against proposed cutbacks in education and cuts
in teacher numbers. This results in the issuing of Circular
20/87 ameliorating the worst effects. The settlement
also changes the enrolment requirements for staffing
from a quarterly enrolment basis to the 30 September
- 1987 sees the first of a series of national programmes
agreed. It is called the Programme for National Recovery.
Subsequent programmes include the Programme for Economic
and Social Progress, the Programme for Competitiveness
and Work, Partnership 2000 and the latest Programme
for Prosperity and Fairness.
- The late 80's and early 90's see a
rise in teacher unemployment. The INTO campaigns to
secure improvements in substitute teachers' conditions.
Changes include direct payment, an arbitration award
for substitutes, linkage to salary rises on the incremental
scale, limited incremental and pension credit provision
and the establishment of supply panels in certain areas.
- 1989 sees a landmark gender equality case taken
by the INTO on behalf of a Limerick female teacher which
results in an £11,000 award.
- A major report on participation in the INTO is published in 1991.
- 1991 sees a further 10% arbitration award for teachers which is uncontested by the Government.
- 1991 also sees the publication of the Primary
Curriculum Review report and the report of the Primary
Education Review Body. The NCCA, through Curriculum
Committees, devises a revised curriculum for primary
schools. Pressure grows to introduce new topics such
as RSE, ICT, drugs awareness programmes and child abuse
- In 1994 the INTO succeeds in securing panel redeployment
rights for temporary teachers after 5 years' service.
This is subsequently reduced to 3 years.
- In 1994 the INTO establishes a Professional Development Unit which pioneers a variety of approaches to, and courses for, the professional development of teachers.
- Job sharing, parental leave and a limited expansion
of substitute cover are introduced, as is fortnightly
pay for teachers.
- The perennial themes of staffing and funding
of primary education continue to be central in campaigns.
- A major review of special education is carried
out by a specially appointed committee.
- The PCW settlement in 1996 replaces the points
system with promotion based on the number of teachers
in a school. More than 50% of primary teachers hold
promoted posts as a result. The long standing Specialist
Teachers' Claim is resolved, giving all teachers an
allowance for their teaching qualification. Other elements
include a long service allowance after 35 years'
service and limited expansion of retirement options.
- The 90's bring unprecedented changes and
proposals on education legislation. A Green Paper, White
Paper and Education Act are published. An Education
Welfare Act is passed in 2000. A National Education
Convention is held.
- The 90's also see a significant expansion
of provision for educational disadvantage with programmes
including Early Start, Breaking the Cycle, and Home/School/Community/ Liaison.
- In 1998 InTouch replaces both Tuarascáil
and Education Today as the INTO members'
- 1998: Minister introduces automatic supports
for children with special needs. Resource teachers and
Special Needs Assistants are appointed.
- A Review Body on the role of the primary school
principal reports in 1999.
- Staffing negotiations in 1999 result in the introduction
of an average class size of 30 for primary schools.
- A scheme to ensure all primary schools have the
services of ancillary staff is agreed under the new
national Programme for Prosperity and Fairness.
- Revised Primary School Curriculum is published
- Task Force on Autism established in 2000.
- First provision for release days for teaching principals.
- Teaching Council Act (2001) passed into law.
- John Carr and Catherine Byrne elected General Secretary and General Treasurer, respectively, in 2001.
- Report of transmission of Public Service Pensions (2001) recommends single retirement age of 65 for new entrants.
- Carers' Leave Act (2001) introduces new provisions.
- Statutory Committee on Educational Disadvantage established in 2001.
- Deals on payment to teachers for supervision and substitution (2002).
- Ó Dúlaing dismissal case, Dunboyne, cause of public controversy in 2002.
- Committee to review INTO Rules and Structures set up by INTO Congress 2002 to report in 2004.
- Benchmarking Body on Public Service Pay awards teachers 13%, reports in 2002.
- INTO accepts new national agreement "Sustaining Progress" in 2003.
- Supervision and substitution allowance for teachers.
- Special Education - 350 plus 660 additional posts for new system.
- Educational Disadvantage - new DEIS initiative.
- INTO Principals' and Deputy Principals' Committee (PDC) established.
- Teaching Council established.
- National Council for Special Education (NCSE) established.
- Education Welfare Act - National Education Welfare Board (NEWB) established.
- Benchmarking Review awards 13% to teachers.
- INTO Rules review - Head Office restructuring.
- Equality cases.
- Sheila Nunan elected as General Treasurer.
- New staffing schedule with class size reductions.