There is an unprecedented level of vacant teaching posts in primary and special schools.
That is according to a new survey conducted by he Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), in conjunction with the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) and the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA).
The survey found that in total, there is a current shortfall of 809 permanent, fixed-term and long-term substitute teachers in the schools who responded to the survey. An additional 1,202 long-term vacancies are expected within the next three months.
Only 72% of the schools who responded to the survey had been able to fill all their vacancies, with 306 schools still having vacant posts.
There are 89 schools with vacant permanent posts, with some schools having up to eight or nine vacancies.
There are 149 schools with unfilled long-term fixed-term posts and 212 schools with long-term substitute vacancies.
34% of the special schools in the survey had vacant permanent posts.
Of the 109 DEIS schools that responded, there were 45 vacant permanent posts, 81 fixed-term posts and 55 unfilled substitute posts.
In the 53 Gaelscoileanna that responded, there were 18 permanent and 18 fixed-term posts vacant as well as 34 vacant long-term substitute posts.
Launching the report, INTO Deputy General Secretary Deirdre O’Connor said:
“This survey indicates that in the schools who responded, there is a current shortfall of 809 teaching posts in the schools surveyed, with another 1,202 expected vacancies in the next 3 months.
“In the midst of a staffing crisis in our schools, particularly in our urban areas, all options must actively be explored to ensure that no child is left without a qualified teacher.
“We are acutely aware of the profound impact that the housing crisis and escalating living costs are having on the recruitment and retention of teachers in Ireland, particularly within areas experiencing rent pressures.”
Ms O’Connor pointed to the lingering legacy of austerity cuts to salaries, allowances and promotions as further reasons for the recruitment and retention crises.
“Other countries are incentivising Ireland’s primary teachers to work overseas, and the Department of Education is failing to convince them that they are valued here. As a result, our most vulnerable pupils are losing out,” she added.
IPPN CEO Pairic Clerkin said:
“The shortfall in the number of teachers is compromising the ability of schools to meet the needs of all pupils, as our members are forced to ensure that they have teachers for all mainstream classes, meaning they have a reduced cohort of Special Education Teachers to work with children with additional needs.”