Review of employment opportunities for teaching staff
The Department has undertaken a Review of Employment Opportunities for Teaching Staff to examine the impact of the Religious Certificate requirement to teach in Catholic Maintained Primary and Nursery schools.
The recognised Certificate in Religious Education is a mandatory requirement for all those seeking appointment to a permanent teaching position in a Catholic Maintained nursery or primary school in the north of Ireland. The requirement was introduced by the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) to recognise that nursery and primary schools have a pivotal role in preparing children to receive each of the Sacraments.
Some members of the Assembly’s Education Committee expressed concern that this requirement could lead to inequality in the employment of and opportunities for teachers, by giving those who hold the Certificate an unfair advantage, as they could avail of a wider range of employment opportunities.
The review has not identified any inequality in employment opportunities as a result of the requirement however; it has identified barriers in accessing the Certificate, which may lead to inequalities for those who wish to obtain it. The recommendations seek to remove or lower these barriers and the Minister for Education has asked officials to take forward all of the recommendations.