The General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland is the statutory, independent body for the teaching profession and is dedicated to enhancing the status of teaching and promoting the highest standards of professional conduct and practice.
There are many reasons why teaching is an attractive career choice for talented people. The teaching profession in Northern Ireland is well regarded and offers a challenging yet rewarding career path. We in the Council have sought to capture both the challenges and rewards offered by teaching in our DVD. The link below will take you to the DVD which covers all phases of schooling and via interviews with classroom practitioners gives an insight to how teachers themselves consider their work. Perhaps as interesting are the comments of the children and young adults about teaching and their particular aspirations.
Please note: The footage that follows was recorded a few years ago, but we believe it encapsulates the essence and challenges of teaching. It clearly demonstrates the sheer dedication of the profession in developing the potential of not only their pupils, but of themselves through CPD.
Northern Ireland ’s Education System
The Education System in Northern Ireland whilst sharing many of the characteristics of other jurisdictions within the UK does have some unique aspects particularly in relation to Curriculum and Assessment and Post Primary Structures. The Curriculum is predicated on the notion of pupil entitlement and in the latter stages of post primary has a strong vocational element.
Political responsibility for education is vested in the Northern Ireland Assembly as is delivered via two administrative departments ie The Department of Education and the Department of Education and Learning each of which has a Minister with direct responsibility.
State schools are owned and operated by local authorities, known as Education and Library Boards. Catholic Schools are owned by Trustees and funded via arrangements with the Local Authorities (known as Education and Library Boards) with Management support and the employment of teachers vested in the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools.
Approval of Qualifications to Teach in Northern Ireland
This responsibility lies with the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland. All teachers who wish to have their qualifications approved for the purposes of registration with the Council and eligibility to teach, must forward applications (together with relevant supporting documentation) to GTCNI. (DE Circular 2007/21).
Accreditation of Programmes of Initial Teacher Education .
This is the responsibility of the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland. This role is discharged in keeping with the protocols set out in DE’s circular 2010/05.
Teaching in N Ireland is an all graduate profession. There are five institutions offering programmes of Initial Teacher Education.
Queen’s University School of Education
Saint Mary’s University College
Stranmillis University College
The Open University
The University of Ulster
Please note whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information below in respect of courses offered for teacher education the Council strongly advises that you use the hyperlinks provided which will bring you directly to the websites of the respective institutions. The Council has no responsibility for the accuracy of the information in third party sites.
A one year course directed at secondary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE. The subject specialisms on offer are English, Mathematics, Computing/IT, Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), Modern Languages, Religious Education, Social Sciences (Politics, Sociology), Irish Medium Education.
A part-time course directed at secondary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE. The subject specialisms on offer are Design and Technology, Geography, Mathematics, Modern Languages (French, German, Spanish), Music, Science.
At Coleraine Campus, a one-year course directed at primary level teaching for university graduates leading to the award of a PGCE;
At Coleraine and Jordanstown Campuses, one-year PGCE courses directed at secondary level teaching for University graduates holding relevant degrees. The subject specialisms on offer are:
Coleraine Campus – Art and Design, English with Drama and Media Studies, Geography, History, Home Economics, Irish Medium Education, Music;
Jordanstown Campus – Irish Medium Education, Physical Education, Technology and Design.
Application forms and details of the entry requirements for admission to PGCE courses may be obtained from the Admissions Officer of the College or University concerned. However, those applying to do the four-year BE.d degree course at Stranmillis University College must apply through UCAS . Those seeking to follow the BE.d course in Saint Mary’s University College must apply directly to the College. Note the minimum requirements are set out in the Department of Education Circular 2010/03. However it should be noted that competition for places will inevitably lead to the enhancement of these,
All candidates who are accepted for Initial Teacher Education Courses will be subject to a Police Criminal Records Check.
All full time students on Initial Teacher Education Courses:- Undergraduate and Postgraduate will be liable to fee charges. These are subject to change and details as to current fee levels can be obtained from:
· The Initial Teacher Education Institutions
· You local authority or Education and Library Board