Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says additional measures are needed to help encourage more people to enter the teaching profession.

Deputy Byrne made the comments after Minister Richard Bruton announced extra teacher training places.

Deputy Byrne said ,”Today’s announcement is a positive development which came about after Fianna Fáil put significant pressure on the Government to resolve the teacher shortage crisis.

“However there are a number of significant hurdles which still have to be overcome. In particular, the high cost of postgraduate fees for teaching courses needs to be urgently addressed. There’s little use in expanding the number of places available at postgraduate level if people simply cannot afford to pay for their degree.

“I again reiterate my call for Minister Bruton to take a far more comprehensive approach to dealing with this issue. In January, Dáil Éireann endorsed a Fianna Fáil motion on the teacher shortage, which the Minister opposed. That motion listed a series of other actions that the Minister could take to tackle this issue.

“These measures include,

·         Agreeing a roadmap with teaching unions on how full pay equality will be achieved;

·         Organise a recruitment campaign aimed at bringing home young Irish teachers working abroad;

·         Establish substitute supply panels at primary level;

·         Further expand on temporary basis the opportunity for teachers on career break to act as substitutes;

·         Make it easier for retired teachers to act as substitutes until a normal labour market is established;

·         Reconsider the need for a second year in PME programmes;

·         Ensure teachers based in Northern Ireland can register to teach in the Republic of Ireland in an efficient, economic and fair manner;

·         Ensure that teachers qualified abroad are facilitated in entering the Irish education system;

·         Implement the measures contained in the 2015 Teaching Council Report and establish a body within the Department of Education tasked with dealing with teacher supply issues.

“The piecemeal approach undertaken by Minister Bruton so far must be replaced with a more ambitious and wide-ranging strategy.”