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Government failing newly qualified teachers and small schools – Ó Clochartaigh

21 March, 2012

The Government is ignoring the difficulties facing newly qualified teachers and rural and Gaeltacht schools and appears intent to continue to do so, according to Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh

The Galway West Senator was speaking on the order of Business in the Seanad today.

“Some weeks ago I organised a briefing in the Oireachtas on the difficulties facing student teachers, at which members of the INTO and the Newly Qualified Teachers Action Group outlined the difficult circumstances many of them are facing. At the briefing there was widespread sympathy for their situation across all parties.

“In the following weeks, we have seen no action whatsoever from the Government, nor have we seen any concrete proposals to improve their lot from any of their representatives.

“The same is true of the one to four teacher schools in rural and Gaeltacht areas. Minister Quinn and his Government colleagues seem to have their heads in the sand on these issues hoping they will go away, but they won't. He must come in to debate them as a matter of urgency.

“The reality of the situation is that under his proposals many newly qualified Teachers will be working for in the area of €419 for a 35 hour week as newly qualified teachers under the new salaries regime, close to minimum wage levels.

“The latest cut to teacher pay may deter many very capable people from entering the teaching profession or indeed some already qualified to emigrate, and given that teaching work is available abroad that offers salaries of up to €120,000 per annum, that is no surprise.

“Newly qualified teachers, small and rural schools deserve more than sympathy, they deserve action, and I call on the Government to review the pay regime, ensure that Teachers are paid a fair wage and review the changes to small schools announced in the budget.”

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