This dissertation examines the mentoring of newly qualified teachers in Irish primary schools, as part of the National Induction Programme for Teachers. The qualitative study begins by examining the concept and practice of mentoring in the world of education; focus is limited to an overview of the concept of teacher mentoring. Analysis of data collected from interviews with fifteen stakeholders; three primary school principals, three mentors, four mentees and five non-mentored teachers, examines mentoring best practice, intrinsic motivation of teachers, programme effectiveness and the perceived benefits for mentee, mentor and the school. The study identifies an increase in NQT confidence, the reaffirming of more experienced teachers, the enhancement of staff communications and the acceleration along the learning curve for NQTS as the central benefits of the NIPT mentoring programme. Significant obstacles which are impeding optimal functioning and the expansion of the programme are identified, including time restrictions, mentoring training and school-based mentoring in smaller schools. Ultimately, the study discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the mentoring programme, and how it could be more widely adopted and practiced within the field of teacher professional development and human resource management in the Irish education system.
Keywords: Mentoring, professional development, teacher motivation, newly qualified teachers, Irish primary schools