November 6, 2023
Minister for Education must immediately address teacher shortage – Sorca Clarke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Sorca Clarke TD has called on the Minister for Education to urgently address the growing number of teacher shortages.

Teachta Clarke said:

“This crisis requires urgent action. The results of the survey carried out by the INTO, IPPN and CPSMA reflect the shocking situation facing schools. It is not acceptable that schools are being forced into plug staffing gaps by redeploying special education teachers to cover for absent teachers in mainstream classes.

“This is leaving the most vulnerable pupils without the essential support they need and the education they are entitled to. The Minister must clearly outline to parents and school leaders how she intends to address the “unprecedented” shortfall of more than 800 vacant teaching posts across primary classes.

“Despite the continuous pronouncements from Government, our schools remain under resourced, lacking the necessary investment and have some of the largest class sizes in Europe.

“Each of the issues highlighted by the survey, including the lack of affordable housing in urban areas, or teachers taking up posts abroad because of the contracts on offer here, are the direct result of decisions made by successive governments. The Minister must outline what she intends to do in the short and medium term to address this unacceptable situation of staff shortages in general and particularly in areas of disadvantage, special schools and Gaelscoileanna.

“That schools are indicating that the problem may grow worse over the coming months must see meaningful change from the Minister and the Department to ensure that all children have access to the Education they deserve, that their parents and guardians want them to have and that the schools want to deliver. 

“Let’s be clear, this crisis is happening because of this government’s failure to get to grips with the housing crisis. Under Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, teachers are simply unable to afford to rent or buy near their work. Every day that this government remains in office, the situation is becoming worse. Sinn Féin in government would get to grips with the housing crisis and deliver genuinely affordable homes.

“While the majority of teacher contracts continue to be temporary, short-term or part-time, this issue will continue because it is next to impossible to live on part-time income and expecting teachers to do so is fundamentally wrong.”

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