Access to Post-primary Teaching (APT) Project

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APT project

Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project: Supporting the Access and Retention of Lower Socio-economic Groups into Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

Principal Investigators:

Dr Manuela Heinz
School of Education
NUI Galway
Email: manuela.heinz@nuigalway.ie

Dr Elaine Keane
School of Education
NUI Galway
Email: elaine.keane@nuigalway.ie

Dr Eileen Kelly-Blakeney
St Angela's College
Sligo
Email: ekelly@stangelas.nuigalway.ie

If you have specific questions about either strand of the APT project, please contact:

Dr Andrea Lynch,
Post-Doctoral Researcher Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project
School of Education
NUI Galway
Telephone: 087 112 9868
Email: andrea.lynch@nuigalway.ie

What is the APT Project?

The Access to Post-primary Teaching (APT) Project is a joint initiative of NUI Galway and St Angela’s College, Sligo with the overall purpose of attracting, supporting, and fostering the retention of individuals from under-represented groups who are interested in becoming post-primary school teachers.

The APT project is funded by the Higher Education Authority’s Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH Fund, Strand 1 Equity of Access to Initial Teacher Education), the Galway University Foundation and the Ursuline Fund of St Angela’s College, Sligo.

Addressing socio-economic disadvantage is at the core of NUI Galway’s and St Angela’s College, Sligo’s strategic vision with respect to access to teaching.  This is also a central focus of the Higher Education Authority's National Access Plan 2015-2019.

The NUI Galway strand of the APT project focuses on the postgraduate level, with the aim of attracting, supporting, and retaining students to the Professional Master in Education (PME) programme, who entered Higher Education through a pre-entry Access programme, or a Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) route.  The associated APT Research Project explores the backgrounds, career motivations, ITE and early career experiences of Professional Master in Education (PME) students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.  It furthermore aims to develop, implement and evaluate practitioner research projects focused on encouraging school pupils from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds to explore their further education and career plans, including in relation to entering teaching as a profession.

The St. Angela’s strand of the APT project focuses on attracting, supporting and retaining students from Further Education (with select QQI-FET qualifications) into their four undergraduate initial teacher education programmes.

The APT project is related to the Diversity in Initial Teacher Education (DITE) in Ireland Research Project which is a longitudinal, mixed-methods study gathering and analysing background data from all applicants and entrants to initial teacher education (ITE) programmes in Ireland.

Why is the APT Project Important?

Internationally, and in Ireland, teachers are predominantly from majority-group backgrounds, frequently in contrast to student populations.  While Ireland’s school population significantly diversified over the last two decades, the teaching body remains homogenous, which means that teachers do not typically reflect the same backgrounds as the students they teach.  In particular, individuals from lower socio-economic and/or ethnic minority group backgrounds remain underrepresented.

The APT Project aims to make a significant contribution towards the diversification of the teaching population in the future.  This is important because students need teacher role-models who are perceived to be ‘like them’, and who can set a positive example for them to follow.

NUI Galway APT Scholarship and Bursaries

The NUI Galway APT project offers financial and academic support as well as the opportunity to participate in the APT research project to NUI Galway Professional Master in Education (PME) applicants/students who entered Higher Education through a pre-entry Access programme, or a Higher Education Access Route (HEAR) route.

  1. For those embarking on the first year of the PME programme, a Scholarship is on offer, valued up to a total of €15,000 payable over the two year programme.  One Scholarship will be available every year from 2018-2022.
  2. For those embarking on the first or second year of the PME programme, a Bursary is on offer, to cover Year 2 tuition fees.  The value of this Bursary is worth up to €4950.  Up to 10 Bursaries can be awarded in 2018 and 2019.

APT Scholarship & Bursary recipients will be required to participate in a number of interviews throughout the time in the project, which will examine topics such as their educational experiences, motivation for teaching, ITE experiences, views on how to engage those from lower socio-economic groups to consider teaching, and their future plans.

Additionally, during the second year of their PME, recipients are asked, if possible, to conduct their Practitioner Research Project (PRP) in a school with DEIS status.  The purpose of the Practitioner Research Projects will be to inspire and encourage pupils to explore their further education and career plans, including in relation to teaching.

Applying for NUI Galway APT Scholarhsip and Bursaries

In order to participate in either of these offerings, all applicants must have entered their Higher Education via either an Access Programme or a Higher Education Access Route (HEAR)

Scholarship and Bursary briefing documents, terms & conditions and application forms will be available shortly.  Applications will open in January 2018.

For more Information please contact:

Dr Andrea Lynch
Post-Doctoral Researcher Access to Post-Primary Teaching (APT) Project
School of Education
NUI Galway
Telephone: 087 112 9868
Email: andrea.lynch@nuigalway.ie