The Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland (ATECI), working in collaboration with Headstrong and the SPHE, has secured funding for the development of an initiative which aims to involve post–primary teachers nationwide in an ‘awareness raising programme’ on the issue of teenage mental health. It is envisaged that this initiative will support schools in their development of a whole-school approach in the promotion of positive mental health for all as outlined in the recent DES publication Well – Being in Post Primary Schools.
Since the first support services for teachers were established in the 1990’s, the system of professional development support has grown incrementally to include support services established to address a variety of needs such as school leadership and development planning, curriculum change, education programmes and other areas of teaching and learning. In recent years there has been consolidation and re-structuring of the support service system. The Professional Development Service for Teachers or PDST is the name given to the newly created CPD service for teachers, combining teachers from primary and secondary schools in a single integrated support team working regionally under a national Director.
Support will be provided to schools by PDST personnel working in multi-disciplinary teams working in close co-operation with the Education Centre network to respond to needs identified by schools.
The new Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching (part-time) aims to train out-of-field mathematics teachers over the next three years.
NUI Galway and UL AllianceThe Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching was officially launched on Friday May 25 by the Minister of State for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock. The programme, which is part-time, aims to train out-of-field mathematics teachers over the next 3 years.
In 2010, the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL), based at the University of Limerick, drew attention to the systemic issue of out-of-field teachers of mathematics in a report which found that 48% of teachers teaching mathematics at post-primary level had no qualification in mathematics teaching.
Speaking of the new Professional Diploma, Professor John O’Donoghue, Director National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL), said:
“This decision represents an historic step in moves to reform post-primary mathematics. Ireland’s urgent need to raise science and mathematics knowledge and skills in order to serve critical national educational, economic and entrepreneurial needs is well documented.
"This programme will support teachers to focus on subject knowledge and practice that will impact student performance and stimulate interest in mathematics and science”.
Jointly accredited and designed by NUI Galway and UL, the programme will be delivered nationwide free of charge through a national consortium of higher education institutions and the Association of Teacher Education Centres in Ireland. Approximately 400 teachers will begin the course this autumn.
The course will be a blended learning programme based on a part-time (2-year) university accredited professional diploma, delivered locally and through online modules. Google will support the flexible online delivery of the programme as the chief technology partner in the NUI Galway-UL Alliance-led consortium.
The new programme is aligned with the national curriculum reform, Project Maths (2008-2015); the requirements of the Teaching Council as the statutory body for teaching in Ireland; and latest developments in innovative educational technology and mathematics education research. There will be specific provision for teachers in Irish-medium schools through a Dioplóma Gairmiúil sa Mhatamaitic don Mhúinteoireacht, supported by NUI Galway and Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, Gaillimh.
Under the NUI Galway-UL Strategic Alliance, a team from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics and School of Education, NUI Galway has worked closely with the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL, UL) to develop the new professional mathematics education programme.
Dr Tony Hall NUIGSpeaking of the announcement, Dr Tony Hall, NUI Galway, said:
"The principal focus of this unique new course is to enhance teachers’ mathematical content knowledge and their understanding of the subject of mathematics, helping to support the wider national reforms currently taking place in mathematics education in Ireland.”
The NCE-MSTL leads a national consortium of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) established for the purposes of delivering this programme. The consortium includes: NUI Galway, University College Dublin (UCD), St Patricks’ College, Thurles; Institute of Technology, Sligo; Institute of Technology, Tallaght; Institute of Technology, Carlow; Cork Institute of Technology; Dundalk Institute of Technology; Letterkenny Institute of Technology; Waterford Institute of Technology.
The consortium also includes, through the NCE-MSTL, its founding partners in the Shannon Consortium: UL (lead), IT Tralee, Limerick Institute of Technology and Mary Immaculate College.
Minister for Education Ruairi QuinnCommenting on the launch, Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn said:
“The provision of this course provides further evidence of my personal commitment, and that of my Government colleagues, to supporting maths teaching in post primary schools.
"We are providing over €2million to fund this course, and are making it available at locations across the country and free of charge, to maximise accessibility and participation.”
Minister Sherlock said:
“The teaching community has shown significant interest in this course since my announcement last September. I am pleased that the course will facilitate teachers who are working during the day, with convenient local and online access.”
Partnering with Google Ireland brings distinctive benefits to the programme, enabling the providers to maximize the blended learning opportunities for students and providing possibilities for use of portable and mobile computing to enhance mathematics teaching in Irish schools.
John Herlihy, VP and Head of Google in Ireland said:
“Government, industry and academia all agree on the need for more students to study Maths, Science and Engineering subjects at third level and on the need to produce graduates with strong analytical and problem solving skills.
"The introduction of a Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching is an important step in augmenting how we teach maths in our secondary schools.
"I believe that providing ‘out of field’ teachers with the specialised skills to teach maths in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable way will be a catalyst for more students pursuing maths based subjects at third level.”
The programme will be offered free to eligible teachers starting in September 2012. Places will be allocated on a quota basis by the Department of Education & Skills.
The programme is closely aligned with the needs of out-of-field teachers of mathematics, Project Maths and the requirements of the Teaching Council.
To apply online please click here.
For further details call the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning (NCE-MSTL) on 061 234786 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since the first support services for teachers were established in the 1990’s, the system of professional development support has grown incrementally to include support services established to address a variety of needs such as school leadership and development planning, curriculum change, education programmes and other areas of teaching and learning. In recent years there has been some consolidation and re-structuring of the support service system. A huge volume of work has been done by our services and all can be accessed through the links in the right sidebar (Existing websites).
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An Education Centre is
'a place in which services are provided for schools, teachers, parents, boards and other relevant persons which support them in carrying out their functions in respect of the provision of education which is recognised for that purpose by the Minister…' (Education Act 1998)
The principal activity of Education Centres (originally Teachers’ Centres) is to organize the local delivery of national programmes of teacher professional development on behalf of the Department of Education and Science. Centres also organize a varied local programme of activities for teachers, school management and parents in response to demand. Education Centres are statutory bodies and are managed by voluntary Management Committees elected annually.
There are 21 Education Centres with Full-time status and 9 Part–time Centres.
Education Centres have modern purpose-built facilities, to provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for learning.
New scheme to fund up to 250 schools to work together on innovative projects to improve school leadership
The Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton T.D. has announced that he will be investing further in school leadership over the coming school year, with the expansion of the School Excellence Fund and an expansion of the coaching service available to school leaders.
Schools will shortly be invited to apply to form part of a cluster to work together on innovative projects to enhance their schools in a range of important areas over the next 2 years. There will be scope for up to 42 clusters nationwide in the initial phase with each cluster containing between a minimum of three and a maximum of six schools. Priority will be given to applicant clusters containing at least one DEIS school.
The Minister also announced today that further funding is being made available to extend the coaching service currently available to school principals, to the Deputy and Assistant Principals on their leadership teams. This follows his appointment of teachers to 3,000 new posts at these levels. The service to date has been one to one coaching for principals only. DEIS schools will be prioritised for the extension of the coaching service to incorporate team coaching for the Principal and their leadership team, with up to four sessions being offered to 100 DEIS schools in the first instance.
Speaking about the new investment, Minister Bruton said, “We have set the goal to be the best in Europe by 2026. Realising this goal involves delivering on ambitious targets in areas such as literacy and numeracy, embedding digital technologies in teaching and learning, breaking down cycles of educational disadvantage and supporting children with special educational needs.
“School leaders will be pivotal to delivering in these areas and this government is committed to investing to support and empower them to do so. These measures are in addition to the other supports recently introduced through the Centre for School Leadership including mentoring, a new postgraduate diploma in school leadership and the additional 3,000 middle management posts in schools.”