The Teaching Council is the body with statutory responsibility for the registration of teachers in Ireland. Teachers are registered by the Council in accordance with the Teaching Council [Registration] Regulations 2009 or Teaching Council [Registration] Regulations 2016 as appropriate. A copy of these regulations and full details about how newly qualified and other teachers may apply to the Council for registration may be found on www.teachingcouncil.ie.
The Council has statutory responsibility for policy on post-qualification professional practice and must ensure that appropriate procedures and criteria are developed.
The Limerick Education Centre (LEC) administers the details of primary teachers who are in positions to complete their post-qualification professional practice through the Traditional method (Probation) on behalf of the Inspectorate of Department of Education & Skills. The Teaching Council administers all aspects of the Droichead process.
The Teaching Council's document relating to the post-qualification professional practice procedures & criteria for 2017/18 is available on the Teaching Council's website under Publications.
Please click here for a direct link.
Have you Questions?
Should you wish to contact Limerick Education Centre with any queries on completing your post-qualification professional practice through the traditional process with the Inspectorate, you can contact Jenny Delaney on email at firstname.lastname@example.org or 061 585060 ext 4.
If you have any questions regarding the Droichead process, please contact the Teaching Council.
Probation for teachers in Non-Droichead Primary schools
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. Full information on this process is available on the Teaching Council's website under Droichead. If you have any queries regarding this process, please contact the Teaching Council directly. 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, post-qualification employment and Droichead. Please see section 1.5 of the Teaching Council's Post-qualification Professional Practice Procedures and Criteria 2017/18 document for more information on non-State-funded positions.
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 here.
Teachers are strongly advised to familiarise themselves with Section 3 of the procedures and criteria document prior to submitting Form OP1.
(See Probationary Teachers tab for link to this document or go to the Teaching Council's website directly under Publications)
Should you wish to contact Limerick Education Centre with any queries on Probation, you can contact Jenny Delaney on email at email@example.com or 061 585060 ext 4
A. FAQs relating to Procedures and Criteria for Probation
What does the process of probation incorporate?
Ø The probationary process incorporates two elements:
(a) the completion of a period of satisfactory service in a school (the service requirement), and
(b) the demonstration of professional competence in a school setting (the professional competence requirement)
When do you apply to Limerick Education Centre (LEC) for inspection visits using OP1 Form?
Ø Applications to undertake the probationary process must be made electronically to Limerick Education Centre (LEC) at www.lec.ie as soon as the teacher commences service in a post that is recognised for probationary purposes and 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 complete application to LEC.
What settings are eligible for probationary purposes?
Ø From September 2017, teachers working in SEN settings or in large primary schools with a principal and 24 or more mainstream teachers must avail of the Droichead process to gain full registration with the Council, where all other conditions have been met. Other categories of schools may choose to opt in to Droichead also. Probation by the Inspectorate will not be possible in such schools.
Ø A primary teacher may undertake the probationary process when employed as a mainstream class teacher in a school other than those mentioned above so 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.
Ø Only paid employment is deemed reckonable service for the fulfilment of post-qualification professional practice conditions. Since the 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.
Do you apply to Limerick Education Centre for inspection visits using OP1 Form, even though you may only have a month’s work?
Ø No. An NQT should apply to Limerick Education Centre for inspection visits only if s/he will be in a recognised teaching position for 50/100 consecutive school days teaching the same class.
May a newly qualified teacher ‘opt out’ of probation for a year?
Ø An NQT has personal responsibility to fulfil the professional practice condition attached to his or her registration within the notified timeframe. All NQT requests to withdraw or ‘opt out’ of probation should be addressed to LEC by email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
If an NQT with a minimum of 50 days in an eligible setting is subbing from school to school, should s/he inform Limerick Education Centre each time s/he moves school?
Ø Teachers who have submitted an application for inspection visits in one school should contact Limerick Education Centre (LEC) immediately if their position in the school changes in any way, for example, if there are changes made to the period of employment, such as the end date, or to the position held by the teacher in the school.
Ø Where a teacher is employed in a substitute position for a minimum of 50 days and moves to a new school after the end of the first 50 consecutive day period, then a new application must be made to Limerick Education Centre using the OP1 Form if a further 50 consecutive day period is acquired, to seek a second inspection visit.
Can a teacher who sat his/her exams in May but did not get the results until September count the days s/he was subbing in June towards the service requirement?
Ø No. The service requirement can only begin when a teacher is qualified and registered with the Teaching Council.
When is a teacher deemed qualified?
Ø A teacher is deemed qualified on the date they receive successful results transcripts from the relevant Initial Teacher Education Provider.
Can an NQT job-share in his/her probationary year?
Ø No. An NQT is not eligible for inspection visits for the purpose of probation if assigned to a job-sharing position.
Is there a minimum number of pupils I need to have in my class in order to be eligible for probation?
Ø In order to determine that NQTs have demonstrated satisfactory professional competence, inspectors evaluate their practice under four main headings, one of which is classroom management and organisation. Inspectors therefore need to evaluate the quality of the NQTs classroom management and organisation in mainstream classes. As a general guide, a mainstream class will normally have no fewer than 10 pupils.
What do I need to do to ensure I meet the Teaching Council registration requirements?
Ø Full details of the requirements relating to registration with the Teaching Council are available at http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/registration-frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-about-registration-and-renewal-of-registration-.200.html
B. FAQs relating to the Service Requirement for Probation
How much service do I need in order to meet the requirement for probation?
Ø To meet the service requirement for probation, a primary teacher must secure employment in a primary school in a setting recognised for probationary purposes in a permanent, temporary or substitute capacity. The employment must comprise:
- at least 100 consecutive days in a single class, or
- at least 100 days, which may take place in separate settings in two periods of not less than 50 consecutive days each.
Ø In either case, the period of employment in a permanent, temporary, or substitute capacity must involve 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.
Ø Teachers must be available for inspection on any day of the 50/100 day period.
What teaching service will be recognised towards the 100 days’ service requirement for probation?
Ø Teachers who are eligible for inspection visits for the purpose of probation must be employed as a teacher in a mainstream class. Teachers in other setting should contact the Teaching Council. or
Ø Be employed in a mainstream class in a fee-charging primary school affiliated to the Irish Association of Independent Junior Schools.
Who is responsible for keeping a record of the teacher’s service?
Ø It is the responsibility of the probationary teacher to obtain written evidence of his or her service from the employing school or schools, and to submit this record to the Teaching Council, to satisfy the Council regarding the completion of the service requirement. (See ‘Form C’ on www.teachingcouncil.ie.)
If I am teaching in a setting recognised for probationary purposes and have not applied to Limerick Education Centre for inspection visits, can this time count towards the service requirement?
Ø No. To have his or her professional competence evaluated to satisfy the Council’s probationary requirements, a teacher must make an application for inspection to LEC sing Form OP1, which is available form www.lec.ie Where a teacher commences eligible employment a maximum of five working days will be allowed to submit a completed application to LEC. The date on which LEC receives a completed OP1 form or the first reckonable 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 teacher who make an application for inspection as soon as they commence service in such a position will be inspected in that school year.
C. FAQs relating to planning and preparation
How long do I have to complete my termly plans?
Ø Planning and preparation is a continuous process. Planning and preparation should commence as soon as the NQT is appointed to a teaching post, regardless of whether the position they are teaching in is eligible for probation or not. The purpose of planning and preparation is to guide the teaching and learning, and the assessment and reporting process, in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for pupils.
Can my written plans be presented in electronic format?
Ø Teachers’ plans and records are working documents which teachers need to have to hand on a day to day basis. Whether in hard copy or electronic format, plans and records must be available to an inspector whenever s/he visits the school. Planning documentation that is presented in electronic format should be:
- Made available to the inspector on a device (computer/laptop/tablet) that is available to the inspector on arrival in the classroom and for the duration of the classroom visit.
- Filed in a dedicated folder on the desktop (or through a direct link from the desktop/home screen). It should not be saved with a teacher’s personal files/folders or alongside a teacher’s personal or confidential documents.
- Clearly labelled. Each document should be appropriately titled and should indicate the subject area and dates to which it applies
- Where a printout of a document/record/particular lesson plan is requested by the inspector, the teacher should arrange for this to be made available.
- For IT security reasons, it is not possible for inspectors to view planning on their own devices, even if it is available through the cloud or on a school’s local network, or on a USB key.
What guidance has been given on planning to probationary teachers?
Ø No situation should arise where a probationary teacher is not aware of the requirements for planning.
If I move to a new school/class in the second or third term, should my planning folder contain long/short term plans from the first term?
Ø Yes, as this provides evidence of consistent and regular planning and preparation.
Can I participate in ‘team-teaching’ while on probation?
Ø Yes, NQT’s can participate in team-teaching while on probation providing that the NQT complies with the role of the classroom teacher as set out in Paragraph 13 of Circular 0013/2017.
Ø Circular 0013/2017 states that the classroom teacher is responsible for educating all pupils in his/her class, including any pupil with a special educational need. The class teacher has primary responsibility for the progress and care of all pupils in his/her classroom, including pupils with special educational needs.
Ø It is the responsibility of the classroom teacher to ensure that each pupil is taught in a stimulating and supportive classroom environment where all pupils feel equal and valued.
Ø The classroom teacher, in consultation with the Special Education Teacher as required, will consider ways in which the curriculum can be differentiated or adapted to suit the needs of individual pupils. This may also involve identifying the most appropriate teaching strategies and programmes to meet the child’s needs, and deciding which additional teaching supports are required. Parents should normally be consulted as part of this process.
E. FAQs relating to Inspection visits and reports
In the case of an NQT who began the probationary process in a previous school year and had a first inspection visit, will the process start again from the beginning in the new school year, i.e. service requirement and professional competence requirement?
Ø No. The process does not begin again. Previous inspections will be taken into account when deciding on the number of inspection visits necessary in the new post. For inspection visits to take place, a new OP1 form must be submitted to LEC. This should be submitted as soon as a teacher commences in a new eligible position eligible for probation. No more than two inspection visits will be conducted in any one school year.
Can I expect to receive a visit during the first period of 50 days?
Ø An inspector can visit any time after an application for probation has been submitted. Reasonable account will be taken of the settling-in phase in a new class context and the employment period of the teacher. Teachers must be available for inspection visits on all of the 50/100 days. The school principal should communicate any NQT absences from school to the Inspector.
If my first visit does not go well and I really improve by the second visit could I then receive an overall satisfactory rating?
When the inspector visits, is it in order to have my mentor sit in on the feedback session?
Ø Yes. The principal and/or mentor normally attend the feedback session, so that they are fully aware of the NQT’s strengths and areas for development.
What happens when the inspector has recommended that the NQT needs more time to develop and demonstrate his/her teaching skills? Does the process start all over again?
Ø No. The probationary process continues. Where the probationary period is extended beyond the normal service requirements, it is the responsibility of the teacher to take the necessary steps to complete the probation process immediately on commencing reckonable service in a school in the following school year. Where two inspection visits have already occurred in the school year, such teachers may not apply for an additional inspection visit within the same school year.
Following the successful completion of the professional competence and the service aspects of probation, what happens next?
Ø The completion of the induction/probation period is subject to both service and professional competence requirements. For the 2017/18 school year, the service requirement for teachers engaging in the probationary process is 100 days of teaching. The Inspectorate will provide the teacher with written confirmation (via email through LEC) that s/he has demonstrated satisfactory professional competence.
Ø The completed Form C and Statement of Professional Competence should be returned to the Conditions Section, the Teaching Council, Block A, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, W23 Y7X0.
Will the board of management get a copy of the Statement of Satisfactory Completion of the Professional Competence Requirement for Probation or the written inspection report?
Ø No. Only the teacher receives a copy of the Statement of Satisfactory Completion of the Professional Competence Requirement for Probation, or the written inspector’s report, where relevant.
I have completed the service and professional competence requirements of probation. What next?
Ø A Statement of Professional Competence will be issued automatically by LEC, as soon as possible, after the inspector has successfully evaluated the professional competence of the teacher.
Ø The onus is on the individual teacher who holds conditional registration with the Council to apply to the Council for full registration prior to the date on which their conditional registration lapses.
Ø For this purpose, the Teaching Council requires this statement and evidence of the required service on a completed Form C which can be accessed on the Teaching Council website: www.teachingcouncil.ie. Both documents are required (submitted together) before an application for full registration can be made. Therefore, a teacher who receives this Statement of Competence prior to the completion of the service requirement must wait until both elements have been completed prior to submitting their documents.
Ø The completed Form C and Statement of Professional Competence should be returned to the Conditions Section, the Teaching Council, Block A, Maynooth Business Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, W23 Y7X0.
F. General Questions
Is there a closing date for the submission of the OP1 form?
Ø A closing date will apply to receipt of applications. Advance notice of the closing date will be posted on www.lec.ie in the second half of the school year. Applications for inspection visits will not be processed after the closing date. The closing date will be strictly adhered to.
I have been asked to host a student teacher during my probationary period. Is this permissible?
Is participation in the NIPT workshop programme compulsory for NQTs? How do I register to take part in the NIPT workshop programme?
Is an NQT entitled to EPV days?
Ø Circular 37/97 outlines the entitlement to Extra Personal Vacation (EPV) day’s entitlement on foot of attending approved summer courses. The general information in the Circular states that ‘in order to avail of EPV days, a full year contract must have been worked the previous school year and the participant must be registered with the Teaching Council. Consequently, EPV days are NOT available to teachers in their first year of teaching, or to a teacher working as Substitution cover or in part time or short term temporary contracts’.
Useful Information / Links
National Induction Programme for TeachersWeb - www.teacherinduction.ie
This website aims to provide information about the National Induction Programme and to support Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), mentors, principals and staff in their work with NQTs.
NIPT Workshop ProgrammeAs with previous years, the Induction Workshops are run by the NIPT through Education Centres. You should contact your local centre or visit the Association of Teachers’ / Education Centres in Ireland website (www.ateci.ie) for further information.
The Teaching Council (An Chomhairle Mhúinteoireachta)Web - www.teachingcouncil.ie
The Teaching Council is the professional body for teaching in Ireland. It was established on a statutory basis in March 2006 to promote teaching as a profession at Primary and Post-Primary levels; to promote the professional development of teachers; and to regulate standards in our profession.