THE president of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has called on the Minister for Education to provide better pay and conditions for younger teachers to recruit and retain teaching staff.
INTO president John Driscoll is a native of Cork city and is deputy principal of Star of the Sea Primary School, Passage West. Mr Driscoll is attending a three-day teachers’ conference in Killarney.
Speaking to The Echo, he explained the cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on younger teachers entering the profession.
“There are positions that have not been filled in schools, generally in areas of high pressure on rent - it’s a very difficult one to solve,” he said.
“There are teachers who could work in large urban areas, Dublin or Cork, but they can’t afford to live there.”
Mr Driscoll said there are schools with permanent positions available, which would have been seen a few years ago as prized positions, but younger teachers are voting with their feet and leaving for the Middle East or Australia, where a large chunk of their salaries will not be spent on rent or mortgages.
“They’re going for the lifestyle, the salary,” he explained.
“In the long-term they may return, but they’re putting that off. We need measures to attract them back into the system. If the salaries aren’t attractive enough, that’s a problem.”
Mr Driscoll also highlighted increased administration work for principals, and a lack of resources across the education system.
“It takes a huge amount of time and effort and energy to complete applications, to pursue them, to get the right resources,” he explained. “There is a shortage of psychologists for schools, a shortage of speech and language therapists.”
The INTO is also calling for improved supports for special needs education and schools in disadvantaged areas.
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