Deputy O’Brien challenges Ed Minister on changes to S&S scheme
Sinn Féin education spokesperson, Jonathan O’Brien TD, has called on education minister Ruairí Quinn to seriously rethink proposed changes to the Supervision and Substitution Scheme agreed under the Croke Park II arrangements.
The Cork North Central TD raised the matter with Minister Quinn during Thursday’s sitting of the Dáil. He said that if the proposal is ratified then it is likely teachers will have to work many additional hours and that some primary school classes will have to double up to numbers in excess of 40 children per classroom. This is because substitution would no longer be permitted and teachers would have to cover for colleagues on certified sick leave.
He continued: “The change to S&S will mean that second level teachers would be obliged to participate in scheme without payment and will result in an increase from 37 to 49 supervision hours to cover children on lunch and recreational breaks with an additional 12 (or more if required) to cover for absent colleagues.
“In effect, this means a pay cut of up to 5.5% at Second level and the TUI estimate that the proposals will mean teachers having to provide 2 hours 15 minutes cover on a weekly basis.
“It is a measure that will have a disproportionate impact on small rural schools and it will also have implications for health and safety in classrooms, particularly for children with special educational needs as Learning Support and Resource teachers will be taken out of their posts to help with supervision.
“This is happening at a time when Irish classrooms that sizes are already among the highest of any OECD country and it can only have a detrimental impact on the capacity for teachers to deliver the school curriculum.
“Many schools have small classrooms that do not have the physical space in which to merge classes to meet this new requirement and ultimately, it is another blow to our second level education system.”