The latest paper in the Ulster University series looking at the NI education system focuses on Community division and student separation in Initial Teacher Education.
The potential for the professional movement of teachers across the community divide in the NI school system has been identified as being affected by the convergence of four inter-related factors: the exception of teachers from Fair Employment legislation; the place afforded to religion within schools; the requirement for all teachers employed in Maintained primary schools to be in possession of an RE certificate that has been approved by the Catholic bishops; and the organisation of Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Ulster University’s Transforming Education project has already published papers exploring the first three of these; this paper explores the ways in which community division is reflected in, and impacts upon, the provision of ITE.
The briefing paper, the seventh in the “Transforming Education” series, found that: “In keeping with much of the education system in NI, the current system of ITE is characterised by duplication – this undoubtedly contributes to its expense. The two University Colleges, for instance, receive additional premia payments. In addition, the NI Executive subsidises local students to study in local institutions but at the same time awards more places for ITE than are required to ‘restock’ the teaching profession. This over-production of teachers is endemic within the system and sustained from the public purse. Division of responsibilities and communication between DfE and DE seems, at least partially, to be at the root of this particular issue.”
The UU School of Education has received funding from the IEF, the UNESCO Centre, The Community Foundation NI and The Ireland Funds to support publication of the research.
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