Statement On Behalf Of The Board Of Governors Of The Church Of Ireland College Of Education
On 8th November 2012 the Board of Governors of CICE unanimously agreed, following extensive negotiations, explorations and full and comprehensive briefings, to pursue as a matter of urgency formal discussions relating to structure and governance with Dublin City University. CICE will be a recognised equal partner at the decision–making table. CICE’s decision–making will be guided by its four guiding principles (all of which are of equal significance):
• Safeguarding and enhancing the holistic educational experience of all students in CICE (including B.Ed students, post–graduate SEN students and SNA Certificate students);
• Retention of CICE’s identity in terms of its ethos and culture, including its relationship with and responsibility to the network of primary schools throughout the State under Reformed Christian patronage;
• Affirmation of and formal positive acknowledgement of, and respect for the values, origins and traditions of CICE;
• Protection and equality of recognition for the rights of CICE staff who are all public servants.
The Board also unanimously passed a motion regarding the ending of its longstanding relationship with Trinity College Dublin stating that “in light of CICE’s historical link with Trinity College Dublin, the Board of Governors of CICE is deeply saddened by Trinity College’s unwillingness to allow for the retention of CICE’s four core principles in any collaborative arrangement.”
These moves follow the publication of The Report of the International Review Panel on the Structure of Initial Teacher Education Provision in Ireland by the Department of Education and Skills in September 2012. Minister Ruairi Quinn wrote to the College on 26th October 2012 stating that he has accepted the Report’s recommendations in full and that he has instructed the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to commence consultations with the relevant institutions with immediate effect with a view to formulating a detailed implementation plan.
The Report’s recommendations are as follows:
• All Teacher Education is to be facilitated in designated large university settings to ensure access to high–quality teaching, peer interaction and research;
• Six centres for re–structured Teacher Education have been identified across the State, three of these are in the Dublin region where the University leaders are (6.1) Dublin City University, (6.2) Trinity and UCD and (6.3) NUI Maynooth.
CICE has uniquely been afforded the opportunity to position itself in any one of the three Dublin configurations that best meets its particular needs. Minister Quinn’s letter of 26th October 2012 stated “I am mindful of the history and important traditions of CICE. I have provided space for the college to negotiate its own destiny with any of the planned amalgamated entities in the greater Dublin region outlined in the report.” The letter also states “I wish to assure you that every care will be taken to protect the Protestant ethos of the college in order to ensure a supply of teachers for Church of Ireland primary schools and other primary schools in the Reformed Church traditions.” The Minister’s letter made it clear that CICE would not continue to be funded unless it cooperated with the new strategic arrangements stating “however, I should emphasise that maintaining a separate CICE presence, or indeed, a larger combined teacher education institution at the Rathmines site is not envisaged.”
The Board of CICE appointed a three person team in March 2012 which engaged in several months of negotiations with Trinity College Dublin between April and June 2012. The CICE Board authorised the Chair and the Principal to explore a range of options in June 2012 and reiterated this authorisation in October 2012. The Chair and the Principal explored possibilities for collaboration with both NUI Maynooth and DCU and reported the outcome of discussions to the Board. The partner institutions working with DCU, St. Patrick’s College Drumcondra and Mater Dei Institute of Education, have both given specific undertakings with regard to respecting of CICE’s core values. Each of these Colleges has welcomed the possibility that CICE would become a new partner in the proposed Institute and have pledged to support the distinctive ethos, culture and mission of CICE as an equal partner in the process. Each of the partner institutions has acknowledged the important role played by CICE in providing teachers for the network of primary schools under Reformed Christian patronage and has pledged to support CICE’s role in this regard into the future.
Among the problematic issues that emerged in the lengthy negotiations with Trinity College Dublin were the following:
(a) Trinity College Dublin stated that it was unwilling to allow for the retention of the CICE name or ethos as the University and School of Education described themselves as strictly secular;
(b) The Trinity College School of Education stated that its only favoured options in the event of incorporation were for the assimilation of CICE within an expanded School of Education;
(c) No discussion was possible at the negotiations with regard to the continuation of the restricted entry route to the B.Ed for Church of Ireland candidates and those of other Reformed Christian backgrounds.
Throughout all these negotiations, a central aim continues to be the preservation of a dedicated, publically–funded pathway for the preparation of teachers to work in primary schools under Church of Ireland and Reformed Christian patronage. Graduates of CICE will continue to be prepared to understand and uphold the ethos of primary schools under Church of Ireland and Reformed Christian patronage. They will continue to have particular expertise in teaching in multi–level small schools and in supporting children with special educational needs.
For further information, please contact Lynn Glanville on E. firstname.lastname@example.org and please mark the email for the attention of CICE