Radical approach needed to encourage more teachers from disadvantaged backgrounds

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
20 September 2018

Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has called for a new, radical approach in all teaching colleges to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds to consider teaching as a career option.

This comes as Maynooth University  have started a Turn to Teaching initiative to encourage students from disadvantaged backgrounds

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“Earlier this week, the story of Temera O’Brien hit the headlines, as she will be one of the State’s first traveller primary teachers. I commend Maynooth University for showing great initiative in encouraging people from diverse backgrounds into primary school teaching and I think it is time for a nationwide scheme. 

“It is time for a radical rethink on facilitating access to teacher training programmes for disadvantaged students.

“Six years ago I helped to establish a scheme in Marino Institute of Education to provide Irish grinds to students in DEIS schools who had an interest in becoming teachers. 

“The scheme is successful with many students now in teaching careers, but it time for the Department of Education and the Teaching Council to adopt a much more radical approach.

“In order to attract students from more marginalised backgrounds, the admissions procedures need to be shaken up — points could be lowered, minimum requirements on subjects such as Irish and Maths could be waived and in their place intensive Irish and maths training could take place throughout training.

“People like Temera will inspire more traveller children to take up teaching but it is beyond time for supports to be put in place to allow more students from different backgrounds to become teachers.”

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