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Dublin: 7°C Saturday 28 November 2020

Hundreds of teachers face chop under Department orders

The Department of Education tells principals that temporary jobs – many of which are already filled – will be reassigned.

Image: knittymarie via Flickr

HUNDREDS OF TEACHERS filling temporary jobs in the country’s primary schools are to be laid off at the end of the year, after a Department of Education directive told principals that the jobs would now be filled by full-time teachers losing their jobs elsewhere.

The orders – circulated to primary school principals last week – said that under the terms of the EU-IMF deal and the outgoing government’s Four Year Plan, around 1,200 positions – largely dedicated to the education children from Traveller backgrounds, or those with difficulties in English – had to be cut.

The document explains that those teachers must be given priority in filling any vacancies that might arise in a school – including situations like maternity leave, where those temporary vacancies are already being filled.

This means that hundreds of younger teachers, who are already filling those positions, will immediately lose those jobs – and will not even be in a position to seek an interview to fill the job again.

The temporary teachers – including those finishing their mandatory year of post-degree experience in order to qualify for their full teaching diploma – will not be entitled to social welfare, however, as they will still be entitled to work as substitute teachers whenever vacancies might arise for a few days at a time.

As it is estimated that around 800 vacancies will arise in the country’s schools this year, it means that 400 full-time teachers will be without work come September – on top of the temporary teachers whose positions are being sacrificed in order to make way for the reallocated full-time teachers.

Furthermore, the country’s teaching colleges will also produce hundreds of graduates this summer – none of whom will be entitled to apply for full-time jobs.

The directive is among the last actions of the Department of Education under the management of outgoing minister Mary Coughlan.

Unsurprisingly, the move has been received with disappointment by many newly qualified teachers, whose positions will now be removed from them, while principals are also disappointed that they will not be able to retain teachers with whom they are familiar and have built up a working relationship.

The INTO has arranged a meeting later this month to discuss the move, which is expected to be replicated for secondary schools.

Separately, Minister Coughlan yesterday published a review of the school transport scheme, which cuts transport grants for children with special needs.

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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