Suspension of career breaks would make teaching profession less attractive - unacceptable absence of consultation

By piofficer, Tuesday, 6th December 2022 | 0 comments

Suspension of career breaks would make teaching profession less attractive – TUI outlines concrete measures required to tackle teacher recruitment and retention crisis

The Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) notes with dismay media reports this evening suggesting that the Minister for Education is considering the suspension of career breaks to tackle the teacher supply crisis.

We believe that such a measure would make the profession less attractive and ultimately worsen the teacher recruitment and teacher crisis.

It is also completely unacceptable that such a measure would be put forward without any consultation.

We have already outlined to the Minister some of the concrete the measures that are required to tackle this crisis.

  1. In the first instance, second level teachers must be provided with wholetime jobs from when they commence their careers. A survey of our membership earlier this year showed that 65% of teachers appointed after 2011 did not get a contract of full hours upon initial appointment.
  2. In addition, posts of responsibility must be restored to pre-cutback levels. These middle-management positions ensure the smooth running of schools while providing promotional opportunities for teachers which will help boost retention. Unilaterally cut by Government in 2009, they have never been fully restored. Over half of second-level teachers once held a post but this proportion has now fallen to around a quarter.
  3. To boost retention of teachers, the ever-expanding bureaucratic workload that deflects from teaching and learning must be tackled.
  4. It is also bizarre that here is no teacher union representation on the Department’s Teacher Supply Steering Group, which has representatives of all types except for the actual practitioners who know the day-to-day reality in schools
  5. The qualifying time required to be a teacher must be reduced. Too many cannot afford to undertake a four-year degree followed by a two-year PME

Findings of a survey carried out by the Principals and Deputy Principals’ Association of TUI released just last month showed that 91% of schools experienced teacher recruitment difficulties in the previous six months, while 61% of schools experienced teacher retention difficulties in the previous six months. 

We urge the Minister to engage properly with us to resolve this crisis.

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