The Minister for Education has failed to treat the teacher recruitment crisis in our schools with the urgency it deserves, according to Social Democrats TD Gary Gannon.
Deputy Gannon, who is the party’s education spokesperson, said:
“A survey of over 1,000 primary and special schools conducted last month found there were more than 800 vacant teaching posts in classrooms across the country. Even more alarming is the warning from schools that an additional 1,200 long-term teacher vacancies are anticipated within the next three months.
“The survey noted that teacher recruitment is particularly problematic in Dublin due to the prohibitive cost of accommodation, as well as in schools in disadvantaged areas, special schools and gaelscoileanna.
“With newly qualified teachers unable to afford to live in urban areas, many of them are taking up posts abroad. It is unconscionable that we should be training our teachers for export when there is a growing recruitment crisis in our schools.
“Barriers to taking up a career in teaching here, both financial and academic, must be removed if we are to incentivise our talented graduates to remain in Ireland.
“In addition to tackling housing affordability, the Government should reduce the Professional Master of Education course from two years to one, as proposed in a Dáil motion by the Social Democrats this time last year. This would considerably ease the financial burden of studying to be a teacher and speed up the pipeline of skilled new graduates into our schools.
“Recruitment issues are leading to greater inequalities in our education system. The crisis is impacting some of our most vulnerable students as schools are often forced to redeploy special education teachers to plug staffing gaps.
“Instead of concentrating on proposals for a ban on mobile phones for primary school students, Minister Foley’s focus should be on prioritising the teacher recruitment crisis in our classrooms.”
November 6, 2023