The results of the survey into the impact of substitute teachers in primary schools carried out by Catholic Primary Schools’ Management Association (CPSMA) should stir Education Minister Richard Bruton out of his complacency and into action says Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson Thomas Byrne.

Deputy Byrne said, “I have raised this issue on a number of occasions in the Dáil yet Minister Bruton has continued to deny that there is any proof of a shortage of primary teachers. However the survey conducted by the CPSMA has produced evidence that flies in the face of such claims.

“One principal in Wicklow said that the situation had never been so bad in terms of getting substitute teachers. In my own county of Meath, teachers speak of an emergency situation.

“Special needs teachers are being diverted to cover absences and children with special needs are losing out. What is also worrying is that many schools now believe that teacher shortages may soon extend to full time posts.

“I have no doubt that pay is a factor in this too. Fianna Fáil has consistently held that there is a need to achieve full pay equality for newer teachers. While this may not be the only solution to this matter a pay differential of almost €4,000 between new teachers and teachers on the old pay scale must be narrowed.

“Ensuring our children get the quality education they deserve means that deterrents to quality teachers must also be acted on,” concluded Deputy Byrne.