Schools ‘at breaking point’ due to lack of staff – Lowry
This is now a metter of urgency
Deputy Michael Lowry has raised the issue of the lack of staff at a number of primary schools across Tipperary with the Minister for Education, Norma Foley TD.
Deputy Lowry says that this has become a matter of urgency and has made a proposal to alleviate the situation to the Minister following discussions with a number of very concerned Principals in his constituency.
The situation has reached crisis point in some schools due to the impact of temporary leave for pregnant teachers and the unavailability of qualified substitute teachers. ‘Parents are concerned about the provision of education for their children, but schools are concerned as to how they can operate without qualified staff available’ outlines Deputy Lowry.
Deputy Lowry, pictured above, has proposed that the Minister enable all 4th Year (Final Year) B.Ed. Students to be furnished with a Teaching Council number immediately so that they would be in a position after Easter to work continuously in a school and overcome the current '5 day rule' issue.
This 5 day rule means that a substitute without a TC number must break their service/work after every 5 days and recommence work again after the 6th day as the 5 day rule resets. This TC number can be provisionally issued to all final year students and confirmed once degrees have been awarded by Education colleges.
Deputy Lowry was contacted regarding the staffing crisis at schools by several concerned Principals who say that inaction by the Department of Education and Government Ministers is bringing them to breaking point.
They outlined that since they reopened their school last September they have endeavoured to support each and every pupil in the school, their parents, the staff and their extended school community. ‘We have done this work in light of late, limited and at times down right disrespectful guidance from the Department of Education’
Now they say that, having reopened their schools for the second time, they are facing what is possibly the greatest crisis of all - a complete lack of teaching staff.
‘There is not a qualified sub to be had across Tipperary. Thankfully some excellent 4th year students are supporting two classes in my school at present but again given the Department of Education and Skills, lack of foresight and planning they are restricted by the 5 day teaching rule’ one Principal has told Deputy Lowry, adding ‘I am pleading with our Government to support our schools - tell us how we can staff our classrooms and support the most vulnerable pupils after the Easter break. Do not leave it until the 11th hour once again to inform Principals as to how they are supposed to manage staffing for the rest of the term. Our parents deserve better, our pupils certainly deserve better and teachers deserve better’