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1,000 extra secondary teachers to come from job-sharers and registered teachers not working in education

This is one of many measures included in the government’s roadmap to re-opening schools at the end of August.

THE EXTRA 1,080 teachers set to be added to Irish secondary schools will come from jobs-sharers as well as trained and registered teachers working in other sectors, the Education Minister has said. 

Minister Norma Foley this evening announced an additional 1,000+ teachers will be added to post-primary level education at a cost of €53 million. 

This is one of many measures included in the government’s roadmap to re-opening schools at the end of August. 

Speaking at the post-Cabinet briefing, Minister Foley said: “Currently there are 1,300 teachers who are job-sharers, and for the first time we will lift the bar that would have been on them to do additional hours in school, which will go some way towards meeting the needs that might be there. 

“There are 2,000 teachers who are currently registered with the Teaching Council but not working in the education sector, so we will be looking at that as a resource.

“I’m conscious that there are 300, for example, teachers who have trained in the UK, and we will look at speeding up their Teaching Council requirements to facilitate them returning.”

Job sharing is an option for teachers who want to combine work commitments and personal responsibilities, according to the Department of Education

A teacher can apply to either share a full-time post or apply to reduce their hours to half that of a full-time teacher. 

The minimum period for a job sharing arrangement is one school year. 

Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon, the party spokesperson on education, expressed doubts about the arrangement for job sharing teachers to fill the positions. 

“Minister Foley admitted today that the recruitment of secondary school teachers presents more of a challenge and she suggested that some of those on job share arrangements could be brought in full-time as part of the solution,” Gannon said in a statement. 

“However, some of those teachers may have childcare issues or other commitments that preclude from working additional hours.”

Over 600 teacher posts will be initially allocated to secondary schools. The remaining positions will be used to support schools facing particular issues with re-opening and adhering to social distancing measures within classes. 

At primary level, additional funding of €41.2 million will be made available to hire substitute teachers.

This is aimed to deal with substitutions not covered by existing schemes, as well as instances where staff members who display symptoms can’t come to work, 

“That particular substitution panel that is being rolled out nationally will cover that and there is no shortage of availability of primary school teachers,” Foley said. 

“I do appreciate there are further challenges at second level, but that is something that I have been very aware of.”

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