The Teaching Council is the statutory body that sets and upholds the standards for entry to the profession. One of the ways it does this is by reviewing and accrediting programmes of initial teacher education provided by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the State.
The Council's professional accreditation function is distinct from the process of academic accreditation. Academic accreditation is based on the suitability of a programme for the award of a degree/diploma/masters, etc. whereas professional accreditation is a judgement as to whether a programme prepares a student for entry into that profession.
All initial teacher education programmes (primary, post-primary and further education) in Ireland that lead to registration must have professional accreditation from the Teaching Council, based on the Council's review and accreditation strategy and its accreditation criteria. A pro forma is used by HEIs in submitting primary and post-primary programmes for accreditation.
In accordance with Route Three of the Teaching Council [Registration] Regulations, 2016 and the Teaching Council [Registration] (Amendment) Regulations 2016, with effect from 25 July 2016, applicants for registration for the further education sector, must have attained a Council approved further education teacher education qualification.
The Teaching Council has also published Further Education: General and Programme Requirements for the Accreditation of Teacher Education Qualifications. These are used by the Council when assessing and accrediting further education teacher education programmes being offered by HEIs. A pro forma is used by HEIs in submitting further education programmes for accreditation.
The first cycle of review and accreditation has now been completed for all programmes, and reports have been issued to the HEIs.