Role of the Inspectorate
Section 24 (3) of the Education Act 1998 provides for disciplinary procedures against teachers and/or principal teachers by boards of management. A staged procedure provides a role for the inspectorate at Stage 3 where the matter involves professional competence as opposed to conduct issues.
Where a board of management decides that improvement required in a previous stage of the agreed procedure has not been brought about the board may request the Chief Inspector to arrange for a review of the work of the individual teacher/principal.
Where the Chief Inspector agrees to the request the necessary personnel to conduct the review are assigned having regard to the competence of that person(s) to carry out the review.
The review may involve a series of visits and will normally be carried out by a member/members of the Inspectorate. The person/persons assigned by the Chief Inspector will have whatever access necessary in order to provide a professional view of the competence. There may be instances, having regard to the nature of a particular case, where the member/members of the Inspectorate may be accompanied by a person with particular expertise relevant to the issues of concern raised by the board of management. In all instances the review process will be led by a member of the Inspectorate.
The teacher/principal, who is the subject of an external review must cooperate in full with the review process and any failure to so cooperate will, in itself, be a disciplinary matter. Any lack of cooperation may also be taken into account when those conducting the review, and formulating conclusions.
The Chief Inspector reports to the board of management and to the teacher/principal setting out the conclusions reached in relation to the concerns raised by the board.
The board must provide the teacher/principal with an opportunity to make a written response to the report. The board having considered the report and any written response from the teacher/principal may decide either that no further action is warranted or to proceed to a disciplinary hearing.