This interactive toolkit written and developed by the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) aims to provide an overview of some key developments in Irish Education in recent years which impact the work of teachers in classrooms. Broadly these include:

  • Changes in Educational Policy

  • Curriculum Reform at post-primary level

  • Developments in assessment

  • Advances in Digital Technologies and their application to teaching, learning and assessment

  • Inclusion and changes in provision for Special Education Needs

  • Review of leadership structures in schools.

We would be very grateful if you could complete a short three-question multiple choice survey to help us ascertain user audience for this resource and tailor resources for future use.

Introduction

The changing world of the 21st century has impacted significantly on teaching and learning and what it means to be a teacher during these times. Exponential and unprecedented innovation in education has been fuelled by the globalisation of education as a resource for economic competitiveness, huge advancements in digital technologies and a need to respond to the social needs of society. This means that our students need to leave school with a set of competencies and dispositions which will equip them to live and work as an adult in today’s world. Ireland’s education landscape has reflected the evolving and dynamic context for teaching, whereby new understandings and insights are continually emerging in a range of areas such as pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, early childhood education, inclusion, and special educational needs. Whereby such changes can present challenges, they also herald exciting opportunities for teachers as professional classroom practitioners.

In scoping out the education landscape as it currently stands, the resource may be useful for teachers returning to the profession following a period of absence, teachers returning from teaching abroad and indeed anybody seeking a broad snapshot of Ireland’s education system today. As well as serving established teachers, there are possibilities for application of this resource in the pre-service and induction phases of the Teacher Education Continuum. Through interactive links, each section allows for the user to delve deeper into specific aspects as they wish depending on their context.

Department of Education

The Department of Education is the government body with national responsibility for education and training. They create policy relating to assessment, curriculum and issue circulars and guidelines to support schools accordingly.

See https://www.education.ie/en/

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) is a statutory body which researches, designs and publishes the post-primary curriculum along with support materials.

See https://ncca.ie/en

The Teaching Council

The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for the teaching profession, which promotes and regulates professional standards in teaching. It acts in the interests of the public good while upholding and enhancing standards in the teaching profession.

See https://www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/

Department of Education Support Services

Teacher Education plays a key role in ensuring that teachers are supported through systemic developments such as those outlined in this toolkit. Consequently, the ongoing developments in Irish Education are accompanied by an investment on behalf of the Department of Education (DE) in the Continuous Professional Development of Teachers (CPD) through its national support services. These free of charge supports are referenced throughout the sections of this toolkit signalling where teachers can avail of further professional development according to their specific needs. The DE services available for all teachers in this regard are detailed below.

  • The Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) is the country’s largest single support service offering professional learning opportunities to teachers and school leaders in a range of pedagogical, curricular and educational areas.

See https://www.pdst.ie/

  • Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) provide support to schools in their implementation of the new Framework for Junior Cycle (2015) through the provision of CPD for school leaders and teachers.

See https://www.jct.ie/

  • The National Induction Programme for Teachers (NIPT) supports the induction of newly qualified teachers (NQTs), both primary and post-primary, into the teaching profession in Ireland.

See https://teacherinduction.ie/en/

  • The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) provides supports to schools in relation to students with special educational needs.

See https://ncse.ie/

  • Education Support Centres Ireland (ESCI) is the umbrella organisation of the 21 full-time and nine part-time Education Centres in Ireland. It represents the interest of the network as a whole including both part-time and full-time Directors, staff and management committees of all centres.

See https://esci.ie/