Action needed on staff shortages in primary schools- Ó Ríordáin

07 November 2017

Labour spokesperson on Education, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said action needs to be taken to address staff shortages in the primary school sector.

It comes after a survey from the Catholic Primary School Management Association found principals were unable to find a qualified sub-teacher to fill one-in-three vacancies.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“The results of this survey show there is clearly an issue with staffing levels in our primary schools.

“As a former primary school principal myself, I have seen first hand the vital role played by substitute teachers in the running of our schools.

“Many are teaching students for significant periods of time, such as covering maternity leave or career breaks and so play a really important role in a child’s education cycle.

“This is an issue teachers unions and school boards have been highlighting for some time, with warnings earlier this year that if the crisis escalates and vacancies can’t be filled, children may have to be sent home from school.

“While moving overseas for work opportunities is very much part of the Irish psyche, we can’t continue to have a situation where newly qualified teachers feel they have no choice but to travel abroad for decent pay and conditions.

“We need to offer a fair playing field for young teachers and ensure they are receiving equal pay for equal work, if we are to give them a reason for staying in Ireland in the first place.”

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