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Schools inspector says formal teacher appraisals remain a foreign concept

Harold Hislop said that it was not unreasonable to ask why some form of formal teacher appraisal was not in place.

THE CHIEF INSPECTOR within the Department of Education has said that formal teacher appraisal “is the least developed in Ireland”.

Harold Hislop made his comments at an Irish EU presidency conference in Dublin, during which he responded to a recent OECD Review Project on Evaluation and Assessment Frameworks for Improving School Outcomes.

Fitness to teach

He said that The Teaching Council would soon acquire the legal powers which would enable it to conduct inquiries into the “fitness to teach of any registered teacher”.

Depending on its findings, it would have the power to “remove teachers from the register and hence from eligibility for employment as a teacher in Ireland.”

Aside from the probationary phase and in cases of under performance, Hislop said that there was “no procedure whereby the competence and/or the standards of an individual teacher’s work are regularly and systematically evaluated within the school.”

Describing the situation as “odd”, the chief inspector said that “the term teacher appraisal is quite foreign in the Irish context.”

Given the experience of other school systems documented by the OECD, it is not unreasonable to ask why some form of formal teacher appraisal, led by the school principal, is not among the components of Ireland’s evaluation and assessment arrangements.

Hislop added that this lack of teacher appraisal was at odds with “the Irish civil and public service where annual Performance Management and Development Reviews are commonplace.”

“Nor is there any formal annual process for reviewing the work of the principal,” Hislop said, noting that any changes would require a balance being struck “between professional autonomy and teacher accountability”.

Read: INTO calls for all teachers to be given mental health training >

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Paul Hyland

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