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TUI schools survey reveals chronic staffing crisis in schools – Kathleen Funchion TD

23 January, 2019 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Education and Skills Kathleen Funchion TD has said that until the government recognises that the absence of pay equalisation for teachers is at the root cause of the crisis, “staffing numbers will continue to drop and student education will continue to suffer”.

Commenting today on TUI’s survey of 150 schools, which highlights the ongoing recruitment and retention difficulties that are having a negative impact, Deputy Funchion said:

“The findings of this TUI survey reaffirm that this government’s chronic lack of investment in public services is directly connected to the staffing shortages we are experiencing in our schools.

“Just as we are witnessing with the Nursing unions and the current dispute over pay and staff shortages in the Health sector, the recruitment and retention difficulties in the Education sector have also reached crisis point.

“The TUI survey found that out of 150 schools, three quarters said they had received no applications for a position in the previous 12 months.

“54% said their school had unfilled vacancies, over half of the total number surveyed.

“90% said they believed recruitment and retention difficulties had impacted negatively on the service they provided to students. 

“This government must immediately tackle pay equalisation for teachers who began employment since 2011 if this trend in staffing shortages is to be reversed.

“The crisis has implications across the sector, in both primary and post-primary schools.

“Schools are forced to advertise and re-advertise positions with minimal uptake and students are paying the price.

“Substitute teachers are doing their best when filling in, but they may not have the qualifications. In primary schools if a teacher is absent two or even three classes are combined.

“This is particularly challenging for any child who has an additional learning need or difficulty.

“Newly qualified teachers are doing an excellent job and are bringing a whole new dynamic to the classroom.

“They are progressive and often very aware of the emotional well-being of children. These teachers deserve to be supported in their roles and receive the respect they deserve; they are entitled to fair pay for the work that they do.

“The Minister must consider the views of the various management bodies, teachers unions and school principals’ on the issues in front of them.

“The findings of this survey should speak loud and clear to the Minister and this Fine Gael Government.”

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