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File photo Eleanor Keegan/Photocall Ireland

Group recommends teachers should be upskilled to handle student behaviour

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland welcomed the report but said the loss of teachers due to cutbacks is “extremely damaging” to the promotion of positive behaviour in the classroom.

AN ADVISORY GROUP to the Minister for Education has recommended that teachers be given extra training to deal with challenging behaviour in the classroom.

The The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) said the behaviour of some students is causing “extreme difficulties” to schools and this plan would improve the capacity of schools to prevent it and manage it when it occurs.

The group allocated over €200 million of additional teaching and care supports last year to help schools finding it difficult to manage the behaviour of students.

With the appropriate expertise and programmes in place, the NSCE said challenging behaviour can reduce in intensity and quantity “allowing teachers to teach and students to learn in safe environments”.

Commenting on the group’s recommendation, CEO of the NSCE Teresa Griffin said:

It is not acceptable for some students to injure, sometimes seriously injure, other students or staff or to disrupt learning. Neither is it acceptable that the students themselves be expelled, have their attendance reduced or drop out early.

In considering the issue, the group said it first focused on children with special educational needs whose behaviour was almost impossible to manage within the school settings but it became clear that the issue was more widespread.

The NSCE advice paper recommends early intervention before behavioural problems become embedded and teachers to be specifically trained in the management of behaviour.


Responding to the publication of the report today, General Secretary of the Teacher’s Union of Ireland (TUI) John MacGabhann said he welcomed the issue being brought to the fore but it was important to highlight that the loss of teachers to schools due to cutbacks is “undoubtedly detrimental to promoting positive behaviour in the classroom”.

“Most recently, the loss of 700 teachers in second level schools from last month due to changes to guidance counselling provision will have worsened the situation in many cases”, he said.

“Meanwhile, the loss of over 6,000 middle management positions as a result of the continuing embargo on the filling of public sector positions is also exacerbating the problem with many schools having do without vital positions such as year head.”

Read: The Education of Students with Challenging Behaviour arising from Severe Emotional Disturbance/ Behavioual Disorders>
Read: Department overpaid teachers and school staff by €1.1 million>
Teachers’ unions criticise allowance decisions as cuts to salary>

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