Gary Gannon TD

Will the Minister now take on board the Social Democrats’ 11 proposals to deal with recruitment crisis in our schools? 

Comments made by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in the Dáil today add another bizarre twist to the Government’s botched response to the teacher recruitment crisis, according to Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon.

“In response to a question from my colleague Jennifer Whitmore TD this afternoon, the Tánaiste denied there was any Government proposal to review or suspend career breaks for teachers, as was widely reported this week. He claimed he was supportive of the benefits of career breaks and insisted he was not aware of any incorporeal cabinet meeting that supposedly took place to discuss the plan.

“This suggests that the Minister for Education was either on a solo run or simply kite flying in the absence of any concrete proposals to address teacher shortages in our schools.

“It appears increasingly likely that Minister Foley was bounced into a panicked reaction in advance of a Social Democrats’ Private Members’ motion which demanded the Government urgently address the escalating crisis. Instead, the Government cynically tried to shift the blame onto those at the coalface of the crisis.

“Our motion proposed 11 practical solutions to tackling staff shortages, including academic reform; increased use of student teachers in classrooms; scholarships aimed at encouraging candidates from minority backgrounds to enter the profession; and measures to deal with the housing crisis, which is impacting teacher recruitment, particularly in urban areas.

“The Government’s ham-fisted response to our motion shows it is completely out of ideas and grasping at straws.

“With the career break plan dead in the water after just 24 hours, the question is: will the Minister adopt any of our proposals to resolve the recruitment crisis in our primary and secondary schools?

`’Or, is she content to allow the situation to further deteriorate – with children and teachers paying the price of her failure to resolve it.”

8 December, 2022


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