Survey findings highlight continuing damage of pay discrimination and need for supports for students

By piofficer, Monday, 5th April 2021 | 0 comments

The findings of a new survey of over 1,000 Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) members highlight the continuing negative effects of pay discrimination on the profession. The survey findings also make clear that teachers believe additional supports will be needed next year to assist those students who may have struggled with the move to emergency remote teaching. 
Concerns around a growing drift towards bureaucracy in schools that deflects from teaching and learning are also expressed. 

The survey of 1,036 TUI members at second level and in the further education and training sectors was carried out in March. The Union’s Annual Congress takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

Comments from TUI President Martin Marjoram

Pay discrimination issues
‘Of those respondents employed from 2011 onwards, 42% believe as it stands now that they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, while 29% do not believe they will be in the profession at that point. 29% said that they didn’t know.
However, if pay discrimination was to be fully resolved, 74% believe they will still be in the profession in ten years’ time, while 8% do not believe that they will be. 18% said that they didn’t know. 
This shows the continuing corrosive effect that pay inequality, which sees those employed after 2011 earning less than their colleagues, is having on the perception of the profession, which is also borne out by an 8% drop in applications for second level teacher training courses through the CAO this year. Progress has been made but even with recent gains there is still an €80,000 loss in career earnings, with the largest differences in salary in the early years of employment. It has led to a teacher recruitment and retention crisis at second level that is making it increasingly difficult for schools to fill teaching vacancies.’

Majority still don’t receive a contract of full hours upon appointment 
‘Just 29% of those employed after 2011 received a contract of full hours upon initial appointment. This means that for a number of years, teachers only earn a fraction of a full salary.’ 

Student engagement with emergency remote learning 
‘Regrettably, educational disadvantage is nothing new, but a situation where it becomes worsened by the pandemic cannot be allowed. 
Of great concern to teachers is that 93% noticed disengagement by some of their students as a result of the move to emergency remote teaching and learning. 76% believe that emergency remote learning had a disproportionately negative effect on students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while 86% believe that additional supports are needed for 2021/22 to assist those students who may have lost out most as a result of the move to emergency remote teaching and learning. 
75% said that student engagement with emergency remote learning was better in 2021 than in 2020. Just 8% said that engagement was better in 2020 than in 2021, while the remainder thought it was more or less the same. 
89% said that preparation, provision and associated work involved in providing classes remotely took much more time (64%) or more time (25%) than face-to-face delivery.’ 

Bureaucratic overload deflects from teaching and learning 
‘For many years now, across all education sectors, there has been a sharp increase in workload caused by bureaucratic and administrative demands, which deflect from teaching and learning.
89% agree strongly (62%) or agree slightly (27%) that bureaucratic duties/paperwork regularly deflect from their core role of teaching.
93% strongly agree (77%) or agree slightly (16%) that bureaucratic duties that deflect from teaching have increased since they commenced their career.
This trend must be reversed to allow teachers to concentrate on their core duties.’ 

Extracurricular activities
‘The survey findings also highlight the significant additional contribution of teachers to school communities on a voluntary basis. Prior to restrictions necessary as a result of COVID-19, 62% of respondents were involved in extracurricular activities in their school such as sports, drama, music, debating etc. outside of timetabled hours. Of those involved, 53% spent a weekly average of up to two hours, 35% spent a weekly average of between two and four hours and 12% spent a weekly average of over four hours on these activities.’ 

Notes to the editor:
Additional findings:

From a list, teachers ranked the following supports in order of what they would most like to see implemented in the next academic year to assist students who have lost out as a result of the move to emergency remote teaching and learning:
1.    Increased teacher allocation to facilitate smaller classes
2.    Increased teacher allocation for team teaching and learning support
3.    Enhanced IT infrastructure and equipment/devices
4.    Enhanced guidance counselling support 
5.    Full restoration of middle management positions 

  • 73% believe that some students were unable to engage with emergency remote teaching and learning as a result of not having access to appropriate electronic devices. 
  • Of those who engaged with the Calculated Grades process last year, 75% said it was a stressful (46%) or very stressful (29%) process. 21% said it was not very stressful, with 4% saying it was in no way stressful. 

There were 1,036 respondents to the survey (797 Post Primary; 239 Further Education and Training)

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