deiseindublin Registered User

‘Collapse’ in numbers applying for teacher-training courses

Decline comes as mounting concern felt over impact on students of unqualified tutors

about 17 hours ago Updated: about 8 hours ago
Carl O'Brien

The survey noted that at primary level special needs teachers are being redeployed as class teachers.

Numbers applying for teacher-training courses have “collapsed” by more than 60 per cent over the past five years, new figures show.

The dramatic fall-off comes as concern mounts over the educational impact on students of teacher shortages in schools across key subjects.

Surveys and reports compiled by school management organisations and teacher unions – seen by The Irish Times – state that Leaving Cert students in some schools are being left with unqualified tutors for subjects such as maths and Irish for months on end.

At primary level, they note that special needs teachers are being redeployed as class teachers, resulting in reduced access to special education among pupils with additional needs.

In some cases, classes which do not have a full-time teacher are being taught by individuals with no qualifications, who may teach for a maximum of five days, under employment rules.

Substitute teachers
The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association – which represents about 2,800 primary schools – has found that 90 per cent of principals are having difficulties finding qualified or substitute teachers.

At second level, some voluntary secondary schools are now offering accommodation to applicants for key positions.

Shortages of teachers are most acute in subjects such as Irish, maths, European languages and science.

A report compiled by the Education and Training Board Ireland found that just one of four Irish teachers at one of its secondary schools was qualified to teach Irish.

The Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, which represents 96 community and comprehensive schools, has also found in a survey that many of its schools are engaging unqualified personnel to teach key subjects.

It has found that there were no applicants for key positions, despite advertising and readvertising vacancies.

The Joint Managerial Body, which represents 374 voluntary secondary schools, says there has been “political drift” for too long over what it now a “crisis” facing many secondary schools.

One principal said: “Why is Irish a compulsory subject when it is almost impossible to find a substitute teacher for this subject?”

Schools also report curtailing sports, games and other extra-curricular activities due to shortages.

In response, a spokeswoman for Minister for Education Richard Bruton said more than 5,000 extra teachers have been hired since he was appointed.

“All of these positions have been filled or will be filled very shortly,” said the spokeswoman.

She acknowledged that some schools have reported shortages in recruiting teachers in specific subjects at post primary level.

The spokeswoman added that the Minister was considering a range of measures to resolve pinch points in certain subjects and that announcements on this were due shortly.

Worrying trend
Latest figures on applications for teaching-training courses at second level, in particular, however, show cause for concern.

The majority of applications are processed through the post-graduate applications centre.

The number of applications for these courses has fallen from 2,824 in 2011 to 1,068 last year, a 62 per cent drop.

Teacher unions say the trend is linked to a combination of factors such as difficulties for young teachers accessing full-time permanent posts and lower pay for new entrants.

The high cost of completing a new two-year professional master of education course – which has replaced the old one-year higher diploma – is also seen as a major issue.

The number of graduates has also fallen, down from 1,1116 to 818 over the same period, a drop of almost 30 per cent.

The department, however, noted that the salary of a newly qualified teacher straight out of college in January 2018 will be €35,958.

“This is a very competitive graduate salary,” said the spokeswoman.

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spurious Category Moderator

The chickens are coming home.

I love how out of touch with reality the Department 'spokeswoman' is.

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happywithlife Registered User

Competitive salary my a**e
Not when you have "jobs" that are "hours" and hence only a fraction of that "competitive" salary
Totally out of touch.
Those 5000 "jobs " were only down to population growth anyway and in fact didn't keep pace with thst growth so class sizes have actually gotten worse

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enricoh Registered User

All the whinging about new entrants pay by the unions is probably putting school leavers off applying. If they knew that they'd kick off on 36k in their early 20s I'd say a lot more would apply imo.

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amacca Registered User

Chickens are definitely coming home to roost.

Its probably not as much a factor at the stage when you are considering entering teacher training or looking for a job but I'd imagine some potential applicants in the know (have teacher in the family etc) are looking at working conditions while you are actually doing the job fulltime/resourcing and so called "reforms" when making their decision to steer clear as well.

Thats even a factor in the UK with existing teachers who have been doing the job for 15/20 years are leaving as well due in large part to working conditions...I'd imagine its only a matter of time until that chicken comes home to roost here too.

Still I wouldn't expect those chickens to actually improve the depts approach ..particularly under Bruton.

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doc_17 Registered User

enricoh said:
All the whinging about new entrants pay by the unions is probably putting school leavers off applying. If they knew that they'd kick off on 36k in their early 20s I'd say a lot more would apply imo.

36k after 6 years in college? And it’s 36k for those few who get a full time job for the whole year. You clearly don’t have a grasp of the situation.

But let’s look at your claim that those starting in 2018 would get 36k. They would have had to apply to a teacher training course in Nov 2014 in order to be qualified now to apply for that job. What was the starting salary for a full time teacher in Jan 2015? Because that’s what they were basing their decisions on. And would that have enticed them?

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deiseindublin Registered User

Moot point about the €36k because nobody gets full hours. Not much point in getting 1/3 of a €36k wage and expecting to be able to pay rent. Lots are on even less hours.

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Terri26 Registered User

And this is the argument ASTI have been making for years. This is why we had Industrial Action. Unfortunately because we were alone in this we eventually succumbed to external and some internal pressure. We weren't doing it for the craic. Hopefully people realise this now. The working with the Government didn't work.

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userb Registered User

Has anything been mentioned about advertising jobs at for example 9 hours for Irish etc....
Again this is not mentioned....

deiseindublin - exactly right

why is this point never highlighted, it has too be maybe people have actually wised up now.

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happywithlife Registered User

Just checked Irish on education posts out if interest - in Dublin there us one 11 hrs two 16 hrs one 22 hrs and one 22.01 (not sure how but anyway)
One can barely manage in Dublin on the 22 hrs ! And if those are mat leave you're screwed over the holidays- doubt you'd get somewhere to rent short term so woukd need a relative to stay with or rent longer term but dunno how you'd pay for it

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userb Registered User

It's shallow coverage from Media;

mtoutlemonde Registered User

I have said this for a while - we are getting more and more like the English system where the government have to give big bursaries to attract graduates into teaching. I can see the day when we have to have a stack of paperwork to do everyday before and after teaching.

From my experience of different schools and principals and the disrespect that is shown to applicants to jobs would be a major factor into staying away from teaching. The fact that you apply for a job and the principal does not have the decency to thank an applicant for applying and unfortunately they were unsuccessful. There will come a time when schools are biting the hands of applicants. The politics involved in getting work is also a major turn off.

The two year dip has had a major impact on applicants - who in there right mind would spend €12000 and two years hard slog to end up subbing for a few years or getting a CID for a small amount of hours where in reality, LPTs would be better off on the dole. I love the way the press give the €36000 starting salary - I wonder if a recent graduates were given a questionnaire, how many would be able to say that they were lucky enough to get 22 hours straight out of the dip - not many I would assume.

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userb Registered User

I agree 100%

Also feel that media aren't examining this either- WHY?
Is it like this really?

dory Moderator

enricoh said:
All the whinging about new entrants pay by the unions is probably putting school leavers off applying. If they knew that they'd kick off on 36k in their early 20s I'd say a lot more would apply imo.

Took me 6 years to start making that much. And I teach Irish. The subject they "can't get subs for". I didn't want to be a sub. Slogged it out in one school so I'd have a better chance of getting full hours. Graduated in 2012 and getting my full time CID next summer.

I was second last year of one year Dip. No way in the world I would have done the 2 year.

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evolving_doors Moderator

userb said:
I agree 100%

Also feel that media aren't examining this either- WHY?
Is it like this really?

Media education correspondents can get nice cushy advisory rolls if they tow the party line.

Anyhow they'll bring in some 'jobsbridge' teachfirst initiative soon to firmly put the boot in.

And fempi hasn't gone away you know! so best keep on that mouldy green jersey you threw on 10 years ago and lie back and think of Ireland

All jokes aside, Having SNA's take classes on a long term basis though is scandalous.
Students should be just sent home, if that SNA isn't allowed look after the physical care needs of it's allocated pupil(s) then that's open to legal scrutiny of something happens.

The solution is simple.
Kill the 2 years and bring back the masters allowance once you commence teaching. This will allow for a better quality 'in the field' masters too.

Acknowledge the hours culture is NOT going to change, it's been a part of the system for the last 30+ years. Just help those starting out with decent sub work (aka abolish S&S).

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