Gary Gannon TD, the Social Democrats spokesperson on Education, has expressed concern that there may not be enough substitute post-primary school teachers available in the event of a second wave of Covid-19.
Reacting to the Government’s announcement of the €375m roadmap to opening schools at the end of next month, Deputy Gannon said:
“While there are positive elements in the plan, I fear that the lateness of the decision will mean that schools will be in a race against the clock to put all the necessary measures in place before students can safely return to school.
“For example, will we have enough builders available in the weeks ahead to be able to carry out the works? In addition, we have 750 post primary schools and there is a very real concern that 1,000 teachers may not be enough if there is a second wave of the virus.
“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. However, some of those teachers may have childcare issues or other commitments that preclude from working additional hours.
“In terms of the emotional supports that will be required for students, I didn’t get a sense today that NEPS will be on the ground to deal with this important issue.
“Our schools have been closed since March and it’s a pity that the Government is only belatedly throwing money at our under-funded primary and post-primary education sector so late in the day.”
July 27, 2020