Source: Sam Boal
TALKS BETWEEN THE the ASTI and the Department of Education have ended today without agreement meaning hundreds of schools will remain closed tomorrow after the mid-term.
The schools could remain closed for an indefinite period as teachers stop performing supervisory or substitution duties.
School boards of management will take individual decisions about whether schools are forced to close because of “health and safety issues”.
The Department of Education says it has been told that about 400 schools will be closed tomorrow, affecting approximately 200,000 students.
The decision by teachers to stop performing the supervisory or substitution duties comes after payments made to them for the duties was ended. Teachers had therefore been performing the supervisory or substitution in September and October without payment.
The Department of Education says it stopped payment for these duties when teachers stopped working so-called ‘Croke Park hours’.
Croke Park hours are additional working hours that were brought in by the Croke Park and subsequently Haddington Road agreement.
ASTI teachers voted earlier this year to stop working the hours 33 Croke Park hours.
Education Minister Richard Bruton has said that he is “very disappointed” that schools will be closed tomorrow.
“This will cause huge disruption for 200,000 students and their parents, with particular stress caused for those in exam years,” he said.
ASTI have effectively decided to close hundreds of schools indefinitely, as a result of a dispute which essentially relates to one hour a week of additional duties.
ASTI members voted not to sign up to the Lansdowne Road Agreement but the department is pushing the teachers to revisit their decision.