In advance of schools re-opening, Tipperary TD Michael Lowry says there are a myriad of concerns with the capacity to impact negatively on the education of children and young people. The TD describes the teacher shortage as chronic compounded by increasing enrolments, a growing need to meet demands for services for children with Special Needs and school places for displaced refugee children. The situation is made even worse by the limited capacity in some school buildings for expansion.
80% of primary schools are struggling to fill vacant posts – causing some redeployment of ‘Special Education teachers to teach children in mainstream classes.” This is not acceptable by any standard according to Deputy Lowry. Other schools are faced with asking a teacher to teach a subject they are not qualified to teach or to exclude some subjects from their programme. The TD is warning of the negative impact the housing crisis and unequal pay for new entrants could have for the future appeal of teaching as a career.