Local Fianna Fáil TD, Jack Chambers has said the severe lack of teachers available to fill both long and short term positions in schools across Dublin West and the Dublin 15 area is having a serious impact on the day-to-day running of schools.
In a response to a Parliamentary Question tabled by the Deputy on the matter, the Minister for Education has said his Department has no evidence of a recent or current shortage of primary school teachers.
Commenting on the issue, Deputy Chambers said, “More and more primary schools are finding it near impossible to fill short term positions, certified sick leave, paternity or bereavement leave.
“These gaps are hindering the existing staff’s ability to provide the excellent standard of education that would like to.
“Quite alarmingly, of a possible 1,050 primary school days in Dublin West, 546 went without substitute teachers when they required cover.
“To date this problem has been dealt with internally by splitting up classes or suspending Special Education Teachers timetables to cover the mainstream classes.
“Minister Bruton must recognise the negative impact that this situation is having on our children, not to mention staff morale in these schools.
“The pupils in schools most affected are being deprived of their right to a quality education during the period that their teacher is out on leave.
“It is clear that no plan has been put in motion to try and alleviate this problem. There is simply not enough importance being put into this issue by the Minister to recruit permanent or substitute teachers.
“The addition of 1,300 teacher positions as part of Budget 2018 is to be welcomed but should this current crisis remain unaddressed by Government then it is unlikely that there will be no qualified teachers to fill these posts.
He concluded, “The Minister urgently needs to consider solutions to the challenges in staffing faced by primary school principals across Dublin West.”