Teacher Professional Networks
Líonraí Proifisiúnta Múinteoirí
Go to content
February 2024 update


If your association registered for the TPN Scheme 2024, the TPN Coordinator should have received an email with details of how to present proposals for TPN funding of activities and national executive expenses for the periods 1st April to 31st October 2024.

TPN Funding Terms and Conditions

What is the Teacher Professional Networks Scheme (TPN)
The Teacher Education Section (TES) of the Department of Education (DoE) has established a supplementary funding scheme, TPN, to support the work of Teachers’ Groups and Associations (TGAs) which afford Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activites and professional peer support to all Post Primary teachers.

The principal objective of the TPN is to advance the teaching, learning and/or classroom management skills of post primary teachers in order to bring about improved learning outcomes for students. Events organised by TGAs should include suitable strategies to support teachers to attain the principle objective  and have meaningful links with the national priorities being implemented by the DoE.

TPN funding is provided in a manner which is coherent, equitable and transparent and TGAs are expected to operate in a manner that:
• is consistent with national and DoE priorities,
• supports the continuous professional development of post primary teachers,
• complements the continuous professional development work of national programmes and support services such as Oide,
• supports capacity building in the teaching profession,
• fosters a collborative professional approach with peers,
• reflects the level of planned activities,
• provides value for money, and
• improves outcomes and learning experiences for students.

Management of the scheme
The scheme is centrally managed by a representative Steering Committee which comprises of representatives from:

• Teacher Education Section (TES) Management and Inspectorate,
• Oide,
• The Subject Association Representative Group (SARG),
• Education Support Centres Ireland (ESCI),
• Blackrock Education Centre (BEC).

BEC provides administrative support to the Steering Committee and to the scheme.

Blackrock Education Centre acts on behalf of the TPN and will:

• organise for the review and approval of the proposed programme of professional learning activities
• process claims and payments related to approved proposals presented by the TPN coordinator,
• maintain financial records for audit purposes,
• provide advice and peer support.

In order to apply for funding TGAs must register annually with the TPN administrator in BEC using a registration form.  TGAs must nominate one TPN coordinator to manage the administrative matters between Blackrock Education Centre and the association. TGAs must annually update their contact details with Blackrock Education Centre.  A infographic will be sent electronically to the TPN administrator each year with the deadline dates for the application process.

Services available from Education Centres to support the work of networks
Any Education Centre should be considered before the use of any commercial venue as they can generally provide meeting rooms and facilities locally on request.  In addition, and by agreement, Educations Centres may also assist in the management of local CPD events. If using commercial venues (e.g. hotel rooms) the cost will have to be justified. The following charges will apply to the use of Education Centres:

• free of charge for meeting rooms, when these are available, and during normal opening hours, and
• €15 per hour for a night opening and €75 for a Saturday opening, plus caretaking charges (local rates apply).

Note: National Programme rates apply for photocopying, etc.

To avail of funding a TGA must submit their proposed programme  for professional learning activities and national executive expenses to the BEC for approval by the members of the Steering  Committee tasked with the review. If the activites of the programme are approved, the funding is made available to the TGA through Blackrock Education Centre.

It is recognised that TGAs have other sources of funding including membership fees. Activities restricted to members only must be funded from these sources. TPN funding is recognised by TES as supplementing the TGAs own sources of funding.These activities must be open to all Post Primary teachers including those who are not members of that TGA.

TGAs are required to certify annually to Blackrock Education Centre that funding granted was used in accordance with the purpose for which it was intended and in compliance with DPER circular 13/2014.  TGAs are required to submit a Certificate of Assurance and be in a position to provide the details of their annual income and expenditure which outlines how TPN Scheme income was used.

TPN funding is available in two categories:
1) CPD activities
2) National Executive administration

There are three levels of funding available for TGAs. Level are based on the number of students taking the subject at Junior and Senior Cycle level. The sum granted will also reflect the degree of activity and participation by teachers in activities in preceding years.

1)  Current Maximum Grant for Professional Learning Activities   

Level 1: €3,000
Level 2: €6,000
Level 3: €12,000
2)  Current maximum National Executive Grant
Level 1: €2,500
Level 2: €2,500
Level 3: €5,000

The overall funding available under the TPN scheme will be distributed based on the criteria set out in this document. The grants outlined below are the maximum available. TGAs may not receive the maximum amount. Funding allocated in any year does not provide any guarantee to levels of funding for future years.

Identification and allocation of overall sum available to a TGA for professional learning activites.
Funding is authorised by the Steering Committee and administered by BEC. The overall sum available to support the work of any particular TGA is determined by the Steering Committee review group in accordance with the objectives of the scheme and based on the level the TGA operates at.
The following criteria will be used to determine the funding made available to support the activities of a particular TGA:

• capacity of the activities to:
o comply with objectives of the scheme,
o provide curriculum/programme support,
o support innovation in the system;
• level of response to national and DoE priorities,
• extent to which the activities support:
o development and maintenance of links with other relevant national agencies, support services and educational institutions (TGAs must outline how they have consulted with the relevant support service (OIDE) in preparing their proposals);
o capacity building in the teaching profession
• anticipated levels of participation, - a minimum of ten participants must be enrolled and have participated  in a TES funded CPD event to proceed and receive funding - exceptions may be approved for smaller TGAs, but only with prior approval;
• activities in the previous year, the level of activities relative to the annual conference, and size/level of the TGA

How a TGA applies for funding of professional learning activites
Funding is made available to a TGA on approval of proposals for activities by the TPN Steering Committee. These proposals are made using the Local Activity Proposal form and the TGA Summary Proposal form. A detailed report of the previous year’s activities must be included.

Local TGA branches must complete and return a branch proposal form to their relevant TPN coordinator. The single application encompassing all the branch proposals is forwarded by the deadline noted to the TPN Administrator in Blackrock Education Centre The single application form should provide a list of all planned activities in chronological order   Please note that a maximum of 50% of the grant for activities can be allocated to conference expenses.

After it has been discussed and approved by the Director of Blackrock Education Centre, the application is sent for the attention of the review group of the Steering Committee.  Consideration will be given to the level of activity in preceding years in determining the amount available for conferences.  A large discrepancy between proposed and actual activity in a year will affect conference funding for the following year.

The TPN coordinator will be required to notify constituent branches of the overall amount available to the TGA and to a particular branch. Branches should organise their planned activities in the light of this figure and return signed claims (Local Activity Report) to the TPN Coordinator within 30 days of the activity being delivered.  The total amount claimed must be based on standard TES payment rates and must not exceed the amount approved. Blackrock Education Centre will review the claim and, if approved,  pay the amount in question to the bank account of the TGA. Ongoing claims must be made no later than 30 days after one meeting or activity.  Late claims will incur a reduction of 10% in funding.

How a TGA applies for funding towards the support  National Executives
It is accepted that National Executives incur certain administrative/development costs. These costs might include items such as:

• production of an e-newsletter,
• web hosting and domain expenses,
• the acquisition or production of relevant resources to supplement those available from the support services,
• support for the professional development of the National Executive itself,
• National Executive meeting expenses, and
• liaising with other TGAs and communities, such as membership of international associations.

National Executives are required to itemise anticipated expenses in the appropriate section of the TGA Summary Proposal form for the current year. All resources produced with any support from TPN funding must be available to all teachers in electronic form. Where a TGA provides printed versions of such resources these can be made available to members at the TGA’s expense.

Claims in relation to these costs should be made in a timely manner on the appropriate form (National Executive Claim form) and should be supported by invoice/receipt. Proposals and claims must not exceed the maximum  National  Executive  support  figure,  as  outlined  below. Travel and subsistence (T&S) claims for National Executives must not exceed 40% of total National Executive allocation. Ongoing claims must be made no later than 30 days after a meeting happens.  Late claims will incur a  reduction of 10% in funding.

Conditions of Funding
As the funds provided to support TGAs come from the exchequer, activities supported/funded under the scheme must be available to all teachers, members and non-members alike. Each local branch will therefore demonstrate how they have notified all schools in its catchment area of the planned activity. As the network of Education Centres has direct access to all schools in the country, notifying teachers should be done in association with the local Education Centre whenever possible.

Financial records are maintained by Blackrock Education Centre. As payments are made on a vouched basis, local branches are obliged to submit invoices and receipts coded according to the proposal. National Executives and branches should maintain and retain all relevant records as these are subject to audit and examination.

If an event requires the payment of lecturer fees or expenses in respect of travel and/or subsistence of participants/lecturers, DoE guidelines for such payments will apply. To comply with Revenue regulations, Education Centres are obliged to pay lecturer claims directly and the appropriate deductions will be made at source.  Education Centres should refer to current TES rates in this regard. For claim forms to be used by either lecturers or participants, updated templates are available on www.tpnetworks.ie. Your attention is drawn to public service regulations on T&S; in particular please note that four travel bands have been introduced since 1/4/17: 0 – 1,500km, 1,501 – 5,500km, 5,501 – 25,000km and 25,001 and over (see Appendix 1). Individuals should note that this figure is cumulative and aggregated across all publicly funded activities.

There is no TPN funding for foreign travel.  Lecturers coming from abroad must have their expenses sanctioned beforehand by the TPN Steering Committee.  The cost of the lecturers will not exceed the agreed national levels.

It is required that all events be evaluated and that evaluation forms be retained by the National Executive or local branch of the network as appropriate.  Evaluation forms must be made available to BEC or the DoE/TES as required (Appendix 5).

Appeals in relation to funding
Appeals must be made in writing, and within two weeks of notification, to the Steering Committee in relation to the overall amount of funding authorised.

Quality assurance
Effective CPD enhances the professional lives of teachers and has a direct impact on the quality of learning for students. In order to be effective, teachers’ professional development must be underpinned by active learning, coherent content and a focus on student learning and enhanced teacher engagement. CPD events funded by the TPN scheme should have the potential to enable teachers to develop a powerful understanding of what and how they teach and of how students learn. The TPN Steering Committee is committed to ensuring that TPN funded events provide teachers with relevant learning experiences that enhance and improve their expertise and skills. Key considerations for all involved in the course organisation, design and administration, are that courses are of a high quality and that they make a direct impact on the learning experiences and outcomes of students in schools.
The Inspectorate undertakes a quality assurance role in the approval and evaluation of the TPN scheme.  Events/activities will be open to inspectors of the DoE and to TES personnel.

The following sets out the expectations for the purpose of promoting and assuring quality in the organisation and delivery of TPN events.
The course tutor plays a crucial role in ensuring a high quality learning experience for participating teachers. Tutors should have appropriate and relevant experience and expertise in the specific course content and should have good facilitation skills.  The tutor needs to be guided by the course aims and learning outcomes which align withn the objectives of the TPN scheme; one of their key roles is to maximise the engagement of participants.

Organising an event
The TPN Co-ordinator will ensure that:
• a minimum of ten participants must be enrolled for a TES funded CPD event to proceed and receive funding - exceptions may be approved for smaller TGAs, but only with prior approval from Blackrock Education Centre;
• roll books/attendance registers must be maintained and evaluation forms completed, compiled and submitted as required.
Delivery and monitoring
The TPN Co-ordinator will ensure that:
• full particulars of approved events are made available to all teachers in good time, including overall course aims and intended learning outcomes for module/course units,
• to facilitate reasonable accommodation for participants with special needs or with special requirements,
• to communicate a minimum of one week advance notice of cancelled events to enrolled participants,
• each event is not undersubscribed, and
• each participant completes an evaluation form for the event in question.
Post-delivery phase
The TPN Coordinator will receive the Activity Report documents, the attendance roll and any claims or invoices relating to the event, from the organising branch or group. The Coordinator will then compare with the approved proposal and forward to Blackrock Education Centre for payment.
All participant evaluation forms are retained for a period of two years.

The evaluation of TPN events
The Inspectorate will evaluate a selection of TPN events on behalf of the TPN Steering Committee. The purpose of these evaluations is to:
• affirm the high quality of CPD events and identify any improvements that might be made in CPD delivery,
• inform the Steering Committee on the overall quality of provision, and
• make recommendations to the Steering Committee and to individual TGAs on how the learning outcomes and experiences for participating teachers can be improved.
The evaluation of events will take cognisance of the following criteria:
• course content,
• participant learning experience,
• course management, and
• reflection of national priorities.
Addressing recommendations
The focus of all evaluation of TPN events will be on ensuring that courses are of the best possible quality. The reporting inspector may make recommendations to enhance the quality of course content, learner engagement, course management and/or reflection of national priorities. TGAs are expected to implement recommendations as soon as possible.

As funding comes from exchequer funds, the TPN Steering Committee is responsible for ensuring that there is accountability and transparency in the way funds are allocated, spent and managed for guaranteeing that the taxpayer receives value for money. Education Centres can be audited and are obliged to maintain financial records in compliance with Revenue regulations. By receiving TPN funding your teachers’ group/association agrees to conform to TPN Terms and Conditions and actively engage with Blackrock Education Centre.

The TPN scheme is administered by Blackrock Education Centre on behalf of the Department of Education Centre.  The Steering Committee comprises:
• Kevin Lohan, TES;
• Patrick Duffy, TES;
• Julia Lynch, Department of Education and Skills;
• Niamh Murray, Director, Blackrock Education Centre;
• Lorraine O’Gorman, Director, Wexford Education Centre
• Miriam Kelleher, BEC;
• Cliodhna McManamon, OIDE;
• Darren Murphy, OIDE;
• Micheál Martin, SARG;
• Cathy Keane, SARG;
• Adela Fernández, BEC, Administrator.
You may contact TPN at tpn@blackrockec.ie

Teacher Professional Networks
Back to content