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SEPTEMBER 2022 - UPDATE



An email has been sent to the TPN Coordinator of those associations currently registered with the TPN Scheme with details of how to present proposals for TPN funding of activities and national executive expenses for the period 1st July to 31st October 2022.  Deadline for presentations is 30th September 2022.


These TPN Funding Terms and Conditions are valid from 1st September 2022


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

Objectives
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   and   have   meaningful links with the national priorities being implemented by the   DES.
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 DES   priorities,

  • supports the continuous professional development of post primary   teachers,

  • complements the continuous professional development work of national   programmes,

  • supports capacity building in the   system,

  • fosters a partnership   approach,

  • reflects the level of planned   activities,

  • provides value for money,   and

  • improves outcomes for   students.


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

  • TES, management and   inspectorate,

  • Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT),

  • The Professional Development Service for Teachers   (PDST),

  • The Subject Association Representative Group   (SARG),

  • Educaiton Centres Support Ireland (ESCI), and

  • Blackrock Education Centre (BEC).


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

To avail of TPN funding a TGA must submit a proposal for activities to the Steering Committee. These activities must be open to all post primary teachers including those who are not members of that TGA. If the programme of activities is approved, the funding is made available to the TGA through a nominated Education Centre.

TPN funding is available in two categories:

  • CPD activities, and

  • National Executive administration.


It is recognised that TGAs have other sources of funding including membership fees and activities for the general public or for students. 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.

TGAs will be required to certify annually to their nominated Education Centre that the TPN funding granted was used in accordance with the purpose for which it was intended and in compliance with DPER circular 13/2014 (Appendix 4).

Registration
An official register of TGAs has been established. A TGA must register with the TPN administrator using a registration form. Each TGA must nominate one TPN coordinator to manage the administrative matters between the nominated Education Centre and the association. An email will be sent to existing groups requesting them to update their contact details.

Each TGA nominates an Education Centre for the purposes of this scheme. If the nominated Education Centre agrees to act on behalf of the TPN for the purposes of the scheme, it will:

  • review and approve the   proposals,

  • receive approved grants allocated to the TGA,

  • process claims and payments related to approved proposals presented by the TPN coordinator,

  • maintain financial records for audit   purposes,

  • provide advice and support,   and

  • in addition, and by agreement, Centres may also assist in the management of local CPD events.


Identification and allocation of overall sum available to a given network
Funding is centrally allocated by the Steering Committee and administered by Blackrock Education Centre.

The overall sum available to support the work of any particular TGA is determined by the Steering Committee in accordance with the objectives of the scheme and 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 levels in preceding years.



Based on the above criteria, the maximum funding available to a network is at one of three levels:

Current Maximum Grant for Activities

Level   1    Level   2    Level 3
 €3,000       €6,000      €12,000

Appeals in relation to the available funding
Appeals may be made to the Steering Committee in relation to the overall amount of funding available. These appeals must be made in writing and within two weeks of notification of the sum involved.

Determination of actual sum to be made payable to a TGA
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.

To facilitate the submission of one application local branches must complete and return a branch proposal form to their relevant TPN coordinator. The single application is then forwarded to the TPN Administrator in the nominated Education Centre The summary form should provide a list of all planned activities in chronological order and be accompanied by a copy of each branch proposal. Please note that a maximum of 50% of the grant for activities can be allocated to conference expenses. 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 application must be submitted by the deadline notified by Blackrock Education Centre (BEC).  Following a review by the director of the nominated EC, the application is forwarded to the Steering Committee for review and final determination for funding is made by BEC.

The following criteria will be used to determine the funding made available to support the activities of a particular TGA:




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

Support for 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 SUMMARY Proposal for the current year. All resources produced with any support from TPN 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 Administration Expenditure Claim) 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.

Current maximum National Executive Grant
Level   1                  Level   2                Level 3
 €2,500                      €2,500                 €5,000


Ongoing   claims   MUST   be   made   no   later   than   30   days   after   a   meeting   happens.   Late   claims   will   incur in a 10%   surcharge.

Services available from Education Centres to support the work of networks
In addition to acting as the nominated centre for a given TGA, any Education Centre can generally provide meeting rooms and facilities locally on request. Education Centres should be considered before the use of any commercial venue. 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.

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 the nominated Education Centres. 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, DES 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 DES/TES as required (Appendix   5).

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. High quality TPN events have the potential to enable teachers to develop a powerful understanding of what and how they teach and of how students learn. The following sets out   the   expectations   for   the   purpose   of   promoting   and   assuring   quality   in   the   organisation   and   delivery of TPN events. 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 DES and to TES   personnel.

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. TPN events need to be relevant and focused on implementation. 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 course tutor plays a crucial role in ensuring a high quality learning experience for participating teachers. Tutors need to have extensive 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; 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 the nominated 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   the   nominated education centre and 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 the nominated 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 your nominated Education   Centre.


Administration 
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;
Shane Flanagan, JCT;
Stephen Gammell, PDST;
Micheál Martin, SARG;
Cathy Keane, SARG;
Adela Fernández, BEC, Administrator.

You may contact TPN at tpn@blackrockec.ie

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