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Thread: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

  1. #1
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    Default Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has announced that new 'fitness to teach' hearings will normally be held in public. This was not the recommendation of the Teaching Council. Under the new proposals the Council will conduct the hearings and 'will have the capacity to remove a teacher from its register where it deems the person unfit to teach, including where this is for child protection reasons.' They had proposed a sub-committee to consider each case in advance of hearings and determine whether a public or private hearing was indicated.

    Less grave issues of underperformance or conduct issues, which do not merit a full enquiry, will also be investigated by the Council where complaints are received from students, parents and teachers, or others. It is not clear from the IT piece whether these are conducted in public or private but I assume they are private.

    I find the proposals strange. In what other profession are public hearings on fitness held? If charges are sufficiently grave, I would have thought that the courts are the place for hearings.

    This will not be welcome news to our teachers in a week when the old perennial of increasing the volume of teacher-based assessment is being debated.


    http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/


    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/fitness-to-teach-hearings-to-be-held-in-public-by-default-1.2074163
    Last edited by Spectabilis; 21-01-2015 at 04:39 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectabilis View Post
    Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan has announced that new 'fitness to teach' hearings will normally be held in public. This was not the recommendation of the Teaching Council. Under the new proposals the Council will conduct the hearings and 'will have the capacity to remove a teacher from its register where it deems the person unfit to teach, including where this is for child protection reasons.' They had proposed a sub-committee to consider each case in advance of hearings and determine whether a public or private hearing was indicated.

    Less grave issues of underperformance or conduct issues, which do not merit a full enquiry, will also be investigated by the Council where complaints are received from students, parents and teachers, or others. It is not clear from the IT piece whether these are conducted in public or private but I assume they are private.

    I find the proposals strange. In what other profession are public hearings on fitness held? If charges are sufficiently grave, I would have thought that the courts are the place for hearings.

    This will not be welcome news to our teachers in a week when the old perennial of increasing the volume of teacher-based assessment is being debated.


    http://www.teachingcouncil.ie/


    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/fitness-to-teach-hearings-to-be-held-in-public-by-default-1.2074163

    'Fitness to practice' hearings for the legal and medical professions aren't heard in public...or are they?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    Like yourself I used to think not, but public hearings have become standard for the law, medicine and nursing and indeed family law cases were opened to the media this year, though with strict limits on journalists' freedom to report.

    'In medicine 'Hearings before the Fitness to Practice Inquiry are usually held in public' : http://www.medisec.ie/a-z/medical-council-complaints


    Some lawyers also argue that public hearings are essential for transparency: http://www.elai.ie/members-papers.html

    It appears that discretion is exercised with respect to privacy issues in all professions but in education, where virtually all grave cases will relate to pupils and students as well as to work colleagues and parents, public hearings are likely to be the exception rather than what the Minister has termed 'the default'. It is hard to imagine a 'grave' case that should not be referred to the Gardaí.

    Interesting conflict between openness and our fast eroding right to privacy.

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    Default Re: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    I hate to introduce a slippery slope style argument into anything I have to say. In my defence, it's not a construct of mine, it's the process that's being looked at.

    One can but wonder as to whether McDonalds will have to have a public hearing to sack an employee who is allegedly not conforming to their conditions of employment. Of course the moment one wonders it, one dismisses it, as cheap labour only requires a jury of one, composed of one's better.

    I like public hearings. Where I see problems is in who appoints who to what. Betcha there'll be no public hearings to sort things like that out.

    On the other hand, and as Spectabilis has said, criminal issues should be a matter for the gardaí and the courts.

    It's possibly a move to promote some talking heads into the upper echelons of Irish high society, who just don't seem to be able to make it there from their current and mediocre positions. With a view to hammering out the details after the metamorphosis has taken place.

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    Default Re: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    I have been trying to think of a grave matter that is not a criminal one. What comes to mind is topical. School-based assessment.

    What if a teacher or Principal were found to have falsified grades? That would be a very serious matter of professional misconduct, and one that needs the light of public scrutiny, It would not be a crime though. Grades are of course a private matter for students - The days of posting up results on a noticeboard or calling them out in assembly are long gone. But it might be just the kind of case to merit a hearing in public.

    If the school Principal were to falsify returns on pupil numbers, disadvantaged backgrounds or learning difficulties in order to claim higher state payments, than that would be a misappropriation of public funds and probably belongs in the courts.

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    Default Re: Public hearings on fitness to teach?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spectabilis View Post
    I have been trying to think of a grave matter that is not a criminal one. What comes to mind is topical. School-based assessment.

    What if a teacher or Principal were found to have falsified grades? That would be a very serious matter of professional misconduct, and one that needs the light of public scrutiny, It would not be a crime though. Grades are of course a private matter for students - The days of posting up results on a noticeboard or calling them out in assembly are long gone. But it might be just the kind of case to merit a hearing in public.

    If the school Principal were to falsify returns on pupil numbers, disadvantaged backgrounds or learning difficulties in order to claim higher state payments, than that would be a misappropriation of public funds and probably belongs in the courts.
    I think you're smashing the proverbial nail on the head.

    The area of continuous assessment is a very complex one. The fact that it's subjective to begin with and must complete with an objective finding, is bound to have some issues. To put it somewhat mildly.

    So, it would seem, that a possible target for public hearing, would be the nullification of discretion in a procedure that relies on it.

    Je suis Irish!

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