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Unemployed primary teachers can do probation through JobBridge

Government decides to extend internship scheme to primary teaching grads who have to find 100 days of experience to register with Teachers’ Council.

Image: John Birdsall/Press Association Images

Updated, 10.59

NEWLY QUALIFIED PRIMARY school teachers who need to complete 100 days of probation in a classroom to be fully registered will now be able to do so on JobBridge.

The Department of Education has confirmed that it was going to allow schools and new teaching grads match up on the national internship website.

Labour’s Colm Keaveney said that young primary education degree graduates were having difficulty getting placed in schools for the two periods of 50 consecutive days’ experience each needed to register with the Teaching Council.

Newly graduated teachers have to accrue this experience, and be inspected on their work, within three years of graduation if they are to become fully qualified.

Keaveney said some students were only able to get “a few weeks here and there”, adding:

The teaching profession attracts dedicated students who will welcome this opportunity to get the relevant experience through the extension of the National Internship Programme which will allow them to have up to 9 months’ classroom experience and thus get the necessary registration.

Fine Gael Senator Fidelma Healy Eames claimed that the introduction of teaching experience in the JobBridge scheme was a “win-win situation for schools and new teachers”. She said it would “stem the growing number of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) joining the dole queues”.

Healy Eames also claimed that the INTO and the TUI had given their “blessing” to the move, though spokespeople for both unions denied this this morning, saying they had not endorsed the scheme.

“The INTO will consult with its members at meetings this month before finalising its position on the scheme,” a spokesperson for the union said.

A spokesperson for the TUI also told TheJournal.ie this morning that the union “has not given its blessing” to the move. “The issue will be an agenda item at the union’s next executive committee meeting later in the month,” the spokesperson said.

Undersupply

Previously, teaching graduates were only able to accrue the time necessary for probation if they were able to find paid work in a school. The relaxation of the rule means that graduates who could not find work, given the short supply of teaching positions, may still have an opportunity to be probated.

Under the JobBridge scheme, new teaching graduates will get their dole payment plus an extra €50 during the 100 days of probation, as per any other ‘internship’ advertised on the scheme.

The circular from the Department says that recognised schools and VECs can now participate in the JobBridge scheme. It notes:

An internship must not cause an existing member of staff to be displaced from the school or be used to fill a current vacancy in the school (including a vacancy in a post of responsibility). However, schools and VECs will be permitted to rotate staff in order to accommodate an intern. This could, for example, involve placing an intern who is a newly qualified teacher in an existing class in order to allow him or her to undergo the probation process and so become fully registered with the Teaching Council.

The conditions for newly-qualified teachers (NQTs) being employed by a school under JobBridge also places restrictions on the number which can be in a school at any one time.

These restrictions are based on the number of staff members already in the school.

One NQT intern is allowed where there are 1-10 employees; two interns per 11-20 staff employees; 3 interns for schools with 21-30 employees.

Once a school has 30 or more employees, it can bring in NQTs under the JobBridge scheme to equal “20 per cent of your workforce to a maximum of 200 internships, whichever is the smaller”.

Read: More JobBridge-related stories on TheJournal.ie>

Additional reporting by Gavan Reilly

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