Probation, Induction and Droichead
Post Qualification Professional Practice
Teaching Council Registration
To be eligible for appointment in a primary school a teacher must be registered with the Teaching Council.
Newly qualified primary teachers who have completed their initial teacher education in Ireland are registered by the Teaching Council with the condition of completing satisfactorily probationary requirements, i.e. their full registration is confirmed only when they have completed successfully a post qualification professional practice process.
Some qualified teachers who have completed initial teacher education abroad are also registered with conditions by the Teaching Council. These conditions may relate to addressing qualification shortfalls, completing Irish language requirements and completing satisfactorily a post qualification professional practice process.
Registration with conditions is valid for three years from the date of first registration. Failure to complete the conditions attached to registration by the Council may result in the registration of the teacher lapsing and this may have implications for his/her eligibility for employment in a school.
Post-qualification Professional Practice
The Teaching Council’s document Post-qualification Professional Practice Procedures and Criteria 2017/2018 http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Publications/Registration/Post-qualification-Professional-Practice-Procedures-and-Criteria-2017-2018.pdf contains the most up to date information for newly registered teachers who need to fulfil one or more post- qualification registration conditions through Droichead or the Probation and Induction Programme. A teacher with conditional registration is eligible to be employed in the setting that is appropriate to his or her qualifications in Ireland (Department of Education and Skills Circular 0031/2011).
The conditions applied to a teacher’s registration, and the time period allowed to meet those conditions, are notified to the teacher when they are admitted to the Register of Teachers.
In Primary schools, teachers can meet these conditions either through the traditional Probation and Induction Programme or through the Droichead process.
Traditional process for addressing post-qualification professional practice conditions in a primary school (Probation)
From September 2017, teachers working in special education/restricted settings or in a large schools with over 24 mainstream class teachers as determined by the staffing schedule contained in Circular 17/2017 must avail of the Droichead process to gain full registration with the Council. Probation by the Inspectorate will not be possible in such schools.
A primary teacher can undertake the probationary process through the traditional method when employed as a mainstream class teacher in a school other than those referred to above as long as the school is not registered for Droichead.
Employment in a permanent, temporary or substitute capacity is eligible, where the teacher is teaching all 11 subjects of the Primary School Curriculum, including Irish, to a mainstream class of pupils from junior infants to sixth class (single or multi-grade) for the entire school day. Only paid employment is reckonable. Since 3 October 2016, internship schemes such as JobBridge and similar such schemes that may be commenced in the future are no longer accepted as eligible settings for probation and Droichead.
To meet the service requirement for probation, a primary teacher must secure eligible employment in a primary school in a post recognised for probationary purposes in a permanent, temporary or substitute capacity. The employment must comprise:
a) at least 100 consecutive days in a single setting, or
b) at least 100 days, which may take place in separate settings in two periods of not less than 50 consecutive days each.
In either case, the period of employment must involve teaching the same cohort of pupils for the minimum block period. It is the responsibility of the probationary teacher to obtain written evidence of his/her service from the employing school or schools, and to submit this information on Form C to the Council so as to satisfy the Council regarding the completion of the service requirement.
To have his or her professional competence evaluated to satisfy the Council’s post-qualification professional practice requirements through the traditional process, a teacher must make an application for inspection using the Form OP1.
Applications for inspection must be made electronically and as soon as a teacher commences service in a post that will last for a period of at least 50 consecutive school days. Where a teacher commences eligible employment a maximum of five working days will be allowed to submit a completed application. The date on which LEC receives a completed Form OP1 or the first date of employment, whichever is the later, will be used when determining the 50/100-day period.
Every effort is made to ensure that all eligible teachers who make an application for inspection will be inspected in that school year. Teachers must be available for inspection on any day of the 50/100 day period. Notification of pre-planned absences should be forwarded well in advance to the relevant inspector. Where an unforeseen absence occurs, the Principal or Deputy Principal should inform the inspector immediately.
The criteria used in the inspection of the work of teachers for probationary and registration purposes in primary schools is outlined below.
Criteria used in inspection (probation/registration purposes)
Planning, preparation and recording of progress
- Adequacy of class timetable referenced to the specified minimum weekly time framework in the Primary School Curriculum.
- Clarity of teaching objectives, both long-term and short-term.
- Suitability of objectives: extent of reference to Primary School Curriculum (with due regard for its underlying principles) and the School Plan.
- Range and appropriateness of resources.
- Provision for differences in pupil abilities.
- Quality and effectiveness of progress records.
Classroom management and organisation
- Promotion of good discipline and behaviour.
- Cultivation of a caring relationship with pupils (including use of praise and positive feedback).
- Overall attractiveness of environment (layout, quality of display including pupils’ work, interest centers etc).
- Accessibility and use of resources.
- Management of SNA support (where appropriate).
Quality of teaching across curriculum areas
- Variety and suitability of teaching methods, including whole class, group or individual learning.
- Match of work to pupil ability with particular reference to attention levels and receptiveness of pupils.
- Communication skills e.g. questioning, explaining, responding, and quality of relationships and interactions between teacher and pupils and pupils with each other.
- Assessment procedures, monitoring and recording of learning.
- Structure and pace of lessons.
- Regard for continuity and progression.
Quality of pupils’ learning in curriculum areas
- Extent to which pupils are on task and working purposefully.
- Range and suitability of material covered.
- Pupils’ knowledge of subject matter, skills and attitudes.
- Quality of learning outcomes, including written work.
Teachers who are participating in the probation process outlined above are also required to complete the Induction Programme. These Teacher are required to complete an induction programme comprising of a minimum of 20 hours of professional learning within three years of the date of their initial registration.
Teachers may select from a suite of workshops delivered via the Education Centre network. Certain workshops are available online. Where the teacher does not have access to school based mentoring from an NIPT trained mentor they must complete 20 hours of Workshops. Where they do have access to school based mentoring, they must complete a minimum of 14 hours of Workshops, and a maximum of 6 hours school based learning.
The details of those teachers who have completed the Induction Programme are sent directly to the Teaching Council at several intervals during the year. The Council then removes the registration condition of the Induction Programme, and issues an updated confirmation of registration letter. The Induction Programme is coordinated by the National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT) and further details are available on the website of the NIPT www.teacherinduction.ie
Since September 2017, Droichead is the mechanism to complete induction for teachers in SEN settings and in schools with 24 or more mainstream class teachers.
In these schools probation is replaced by Droichead, a supported, non-evaluative induction process.
The INTO brought about significant improvements in this process which are set to benefit newly-qualified teachers. Among these are:
- Droichead is non-evaluative – principals/teachers support not evaluate NQTs through Droichead.
- There are specific supports such as substitute cover for release time/training for teachers supporting an NQT.
- Principal teachers are not obliged to be part of a PST (Professional Support Team).
- A teacher external to the school may be appointed to a PST.
A primary teacher in these schools will normally undertake Droichead when employed as a mainstream class teacher. Paid employment in a permanent, temporary or substitute capacity is eligible. A job-sharing teacher cannot apply for Droichead.
Where an NQT is the most appropriate teacher s/he may complete Droichead in a:
- special class in a mainstream school;
- class in a special school;
- full-time resource post for pupils with low-incidence disabilities;
- full-time learning support post;
- combined LS/RT post;
- SET post (from September 2017).
Applying for Droichead
NQTs can apply by sending Form DR 1 to the Teaching Council www.teaching- council.ie within five working days of commencing employment in a Droichead school in an eligible post of minimum 60 consecutive school days.
There are three elements to the Droichead process:
The NQT is required to engage with the PST at school level. During the course of Droichead, an NQT has a number of interactions/professional conversations with experienced colleagues on the PST. Observations are a feature of Droichead including arranged observation by the NQT of more experienced teachers’ practice and observation of the NQT’s practice by the PST.
Additional professional learning activities
NQTs are required to engage in one cluster meeting per term, in a local education centre facilitated by the NIPT. NQTs should also engage in one other professional learning activity, identified by themselves in accordance with their professional learning needs, in consultation with the PST.
On completion of the school-based strand the NQT confirms s/he has engaged with school based induction, attended a cluster meeting and one other professional learning activity, engaged in reflective practice and states that they believe they are ready to move to the next stage of professional learning.
The NQT and PST jointly declare that they believe the information given by the NQT is accurate, and that they have participated in a quality teaching and learning process, and ask the Council to reflect that on the register. On receipt of this, the Council will lift the condition relating to induction from their registration.
Full details of Droichead are available on the Teaching Council website www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Teacher-Education/Droichead