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Teacher Recruitment Crisis Expected to be Worst Ever Seen this Term

Aontú representative for Limerick City East, the party Education Spokesperson as well as an Assistant Principal in St Munchin’s College Limerick, Eric Nelligan, is warning that the teacher recruitment crisis which has grown over the past few years will be its worst ever this coming September when schools return.  

Mr Nelligan ‘’For the past few years across Ireland school principals are reporting the difficulties they’ve encountered while struggling to find a substitute teacher for cover, secondary school representatives have said they are experiencing challenges trying to find qualified teachers in key subjects, the situation is especially critical in urban areas, commuter towns and in Gaelcholaiste. Up until now the teacher shortages mainly affected substitute teachers, principals are admitting now that it is foreseen that full time teaching positions will go unfilled’’

‘’Those that suffer from the lack of teachers are likely to be the most vulnerable children in our schools, if schools are unable to fill their full allocation of teachers, they will be forced to prioritise mainstream classroom teaching positions. While this is not right, parents won’t accept children being sent home due to lack of teachers. We will see Teachers of Special Education moved into classrooms and children with needs not getting the necessary specialised help.

‘’A quick look at Social media will see multiple examples of principals panicking as their SEN departments are being gutted of teachers, one example given was from a principal that had an allocation of 8.5 teachers last year but right now only 1.5 of those teaching posts are full, the 7 other teachers moved back to mainstream teaching. A 2nd example is from a principal that advertised for 3 full time positions in May, 6 applications were received, by the date of the interview all 6 applicants had jobs elsewhere. She is now advertising for the 3rd time. There are many examples of schools across Dublin having 5 or more unfilled teaching posts’’

Mr Nelligan ‘’The teacher shortage is of no surprise to anybody in the sector, once again the CAO applications for 2022 saw a 9% drop in the number of people applying for education courses, this has been a trend for several years now. Education isn’t an attractive option, frequent ‘teacher bashing’ in the media, 6 years to qualification and €14k Master’s in Education fees, lower pay and dual salary scale, superior options abroad, teacher burnout caused by incessant changes in education, red tape and lack of respect have hit the status of teaching profession.’’

‘’Sometimes you’d wonder who advised the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, earlier this year with the suggestion to ban career break opportunities for Teachers. After 15 years of deteriorating pay, terms, and conditions the grand plan to solve the crisis is to cut conditions further. The irony of all this is that the Min for Education, Miss Foley is herself on a break from teaching, availing of the very scheme she is considering cutting.’’

‘’We need to fast track the registration of teachers coming from abroad, make redeployment easier, cut the PME from 2 years to one, speed up and reform the vetting for SNAs’’ concluded Mr Nelligan.

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