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Schools 'still employing unqualified teachers'

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 28/11/2011. Schools 'still employing unqualified teachers'Tags: Primary School News

Many primary schools are still turning to unqualified teachers to provide cover, despite directives requiring priority for places be given to those registered with the Teaching Council.

According to Department of Education figures obtained by the Irish Examiner through Freedom of Information, up to 1,500 individuals without adequate qualifications have worked in Ireland's classrooms since September.

Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn issued instructions in May urging schools to give a higher priority to those with qualifications when looking for temporary staff, while the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) directed its 30,000 members not to work with unqualified educators.

The publication noted some of these figures may be accounted for by those who have qualified, but whose registration was delayed, as a full breakdown was not available.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: "We will be monitoring the situation, doing random checks and following up with individual schools where there appears to be an issue."

Last week, INTO urged newly qualified teachers to use substitute work to build their experience, rather than using the government's JobBridge internship scheme.

Written by Donal Walsh



(28-11-2011 14:15)

Response to news story submitted by INTO:

The figures quoted in the Irish Examiner come with a very large health warning. At the start of every school year the Department classes all newly qualified teachers as unqualified for payment purposes until their qualifications are checked and they are put up on their payroll system. Therefore at the time the question was answered the Department was unable to distinguish between fully qualified new teachers awaiting registration and persons with no qualifications as teachers. The INTO is confident that the vast majority classed as unqualified in September are qualified teachers who just need paperwork completed.

One reason for that is the information presented in the Irish Independent last Saturday which showed a significant reduction in the number of retired teachers working as substitute teachers in schools. In the past schools relied on retired teachers to provide qualified sub cover. The new figures show that schools are prioritising qualified teachers without regular work for substitute work. It is clear that retired teachers are leaving the pitch clear for new teachers trying to get a foothold in the profession.

The INTO said it would continue to urge schools to continue to do this. The INTOs Subsearch programme shows hundreds of teachers available for substitute work.

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