The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairi Quinn TD should prevent schools around the country from hiring retired people into substitute teacher roles, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education, Brendan Smith TD. Deputy Smith made his comments following the various teacher union conferences, where the issue of younger teachers missing out on valuable work and experience due to this practice was repeatedly raised.

 

“Having attended all the teacher union conferences over the course of the last week, it is clear this is a major issue amongst the teaching community,” said Deputy Smith. “It is not good enough that we have young teachers struggling to get work and yet schools around the country are hiring retired people into substitute positions.”

 

“This has been a growing problem for some time. The last Minister for Education, Mary Coughlan issued a circular to all schools outlining her views on this subject and directed all schools to only hire those qualified and registered with the Teaching Council. She also made it clear that the last thing she wanted to see was retired people teaching when so many young teachers were not getting the opportunity to do so.”

 

“The Department also issued a reminder to school authorities calling on schools to give priority to newly or recently qualified teachers when making appointments for periods of substitution and other temporary appointments.”

 

“However from what I have picked up during the various teacher conferences we need to do more to make sure that younger teachers are given their due and don’t miss out to retired people. For that reason I am calling on the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn to mandate schools all around the country to stop hiring retired people, except in exceptional circumstances.”

 

“The new Government claims it is committed to tackling unemployment. This is an easy step they could take to ensure that more young teachers gain valuable work and more importantly add experience to their CVs as they look for more permanent positions,” Deputy Smith concluded.