Access to Post-primary Teaching (APT) Project

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) and Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas (MGO) programmes, 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 three 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.

APT Supports

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.

APT participants 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, APT participants 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.

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

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