Archive

Archive for January 8, 2018

Austerity in Education Provision

January 8, 2018 Leave a comment

MINISTER JOE ON JUNKET TO DUBAI TO FIND OUT THE CAUSE OF TEACHER SHORTAGE!!!  SHOCKING CYNICISM BY  EXTREMIST PRO-SUPER-RICH GOVERNMENT

Minister for Education Joe McHugh is to host a series of townhall-style meetings with Irish teachers based in the United Arab Emirates this summer in a bid to convince many to return home.  Schools say they are facing a “crisis” in the supply of teachers at both primary and second level. It is estimated that upwards of 6,000 Irish teachers are based abroad, with significant numbers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
—————————————————————————————————————————————–

Great Article by Mick Clifford in Irish Examiner  https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

Government Policy of Mere Containment Towards Special Needs Children 

Instead of ensuring that all children receive an education, the approach appears to be to CONTAIN the failure to do so by spinning and prevaricating. This policy is most evident in the failure to educate children who have special needs.

The cold fact is that properly resourcing special education needs would not be the most politically advantageous use of resources for (government), irrespective of the case to do so, both morally and in terms of constitutional duty.

Beyond the need for investment there is a lack of political will to prioritise special education in the existing structure. Why at a time of a major school building programme to cater for a bulging population is every school not required to have a unit for special education?

Why are fee paying schools not tackled for their failure to make any provision for special needs education? Rebalancing priorities within the existing system is required but there is little sign of the political will to do so.

In that regard, the policy of containment looks set to continue. It’s a policy that is callous, disingenuous and expedient.

Thousands of children are thus condemned to a life in which they do not receive the basic developmental tools available through a proper education.

Thousands of parents are fated to spend their lives loaded with further stress, worry, and not infrequently exhaustion because of the state’s neglect of their loved one.

As of now there is no sign that the needs of all these people are going to be met.

Full Article,   Michael Clifford, Irish Examiner,Saturday, September 14, 2019

Containment was the name given to US policy during the Cold War to prevent the spread of communism. It consisted largely of arresting, or containing, the spread of communism, particularly in developing countries.

Containment might also best describe the policy of the Irish government to provide an education for all the state’s children.

Instead of ensuring that all children receive an education, the approach appears to be to contain the failure to do so by spinning and prevaricating. This policy is most evident in the failure to educate children who have special needs.

Learn more

Hundreds of children – even the Minister for Education doesn’t know the exact figure, or at least claims he doesn’t – didn’t get a school place this month.

For these children, most of whom are on the autism spectrum, the prospect of developing and growing in an appropriate educational environment is receding.

Hundreds, if not thousands, more children with special needs do have a place in a school, but their needs are not being met. If you are, for instance, on the autism spectrum, your educational needs are quite obviously different from those of other children.

To put that in context, imagine for a minute that a number of schools in Cork city decided that they are adopting a policy to refrain from teaching maths.

There would be uproar. Parents would be interviewed on the national airwaves about how their offspring are being discriminated against, how the state is falling them and their families. There would be swift political intervention.

Yet a considerable cohort of children are being denied a basic education simply because their needs are different from those of the majority.

One example of this was provided last Tuesday on RTÉ’s Prime Time. Suzanne McKeever fought long and hard to get a school place for her son Michael.

Eventually, he was accepted in St Paul’s CBS in Dublin, where there is a unit for children with special needs. But attending school doesn’t not necessarily equate to being educated.

“The unit doesn’t have trained staff,” Ms McKeever said, while also praising the teachers.

His teacher has not got training. It’s more like a containment unit. His education needs are not being met, not even close.” The school principal concurred, adding that he gets very little support from the department.

“Children like Michael are being abjectly failed,” Patrick McCormack told the programme.

“It’s like parents are expected to spin a wheel and hope they get a school that has a more developed infrastructure.

“Oftentimes it’s really a more dysfunctional system of containment for children.”

There is a considerable body of evidence to suggest that containment is the de facto policy to address the shortfalls in educating children with special needs.

This week we learned that the Minister for Education Joe McHugh does not know how many children with special needs require an appropriate school placing. There are no official figures for the number of children not receiving the education they require.

In official circles, if you are not officially in possession of information, you can claim to be ignorant of it, and therefore not held responsible for it.

The state knows, for instance, how many children are homeless. Yet it claims not to know how many children are not receiving an education?

One tactic in containing a problem is to minimise it in the public mind.

Last April, Joe McHugh was reported to have stated there were sufficient places to educate all children. Until recently, his department would only acknowledge that there was a problem in the Dublin 15 area.

This week, the Minister accepted there were “acute” shortages in other parts of Dublin and in Cork. This scenario would have evident to anybody who read the Irish Examiner or a number of other media outlets over the last year.

Another element to the provision of special needs education was uncovered in a report published earlier this month by Inclusion Ireland.

It showed that one in four children with disabilities were being subjected to shorter school days, known as “reduced timetables”.

For children with autism, the report found that this applied to one in three children.

As far as statistics are concerned the children on a “reduced timetable” each has a school place. Officially, their needs are being met.

Imagine for a minute that teachers in say, west Clare, backed by their union, decide to shorten the school day because they think they’re worth it. Would anybody put up with that?

Yet, those who have the greatest challenges in integrating and advancing in the world are subjected to such a level of discrimination.

Another area the government references to illustrate a commitment to educating all children is recent changes to the law. The Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018 makes provision for the minister to instruct a school to open a special education unit.

However, the provision is contained in a section with ten subsections, each representing a hoop which must be jumped through before the minister can issue his instruction.

Once again, the fine print disputes the impression being given that so much is being done.

The reality is that the government is deploying a policy of containment because it simply does not have the stomach to do what is required to give all children an education.

To do so would, for one thing, require much more resources. For schools to be properly supported with infrastructure and staff, serious investment is needed.

That money would have to come from somewhere. Within government there is a perennial competition for resources.

The cold fact is that properly resourcing special education needs would not be the most politically advantageous use of resources for (government), irrespective of the case to do so, both morally and in terms of constitutional duty.

Beyond the need for investment there is a lack of political will to prioritise special education in the existing structure. Why at a time of a major school building programme to cater for a bulging population is every school not required to have a unit for special education?

Why are fee paying schools not tackled for their failure to make any provision for special needs education? Rebalancing priorities within the existing system is required but there is little sign of the political will to do so.

In that regard, the policy of containment looks set to continue. It’s a policy that is callous, disingenuous and expedient.

Thousands of children are thus condemned to a life in which they do not receive the basic developmental tools available through a proper education.

Thousands of parents are fated to spend their lives loaded with further stress, worry, and not infrequently exhaustion because of the state’s neglect of their loved one.

As of now there is no sign that the needs of all these people are going to be met.

 

 

————————————————————-

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

No overall problem with teacher supply, insists Department of Education

Austerity in Education   https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

———————————————————–

Dáil Exchanges between  Seamus Healy TD and Minister Richard Bruton  on Pay and Pension Equality for New Entrant  Teachers and Problems in Teacher Recruitment

“I am again calling on the Minister to put in place real measures, including pay parity and a panel  to deal with this crisis that is not just immediate but is staring us in the face”- Seamus Healy TD

Austerity in Education   https://wp.me/pKzXa-10P

Teachers’ Remuneration   Dáil Report  Feb 1

5. Deputy Seamus Healy Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton his plans to end the unequal remuneration of new entrants in the teaching profession as a key step in addressing shortages of teaching staff; his further plans to end the teaching shortage; if all such measures have been agreed with the teaching unions concerned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4981/18]

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy All education stakeholders now acknowledge there is an unprecedented crisis in recruitment and retention of teachers. In fact, today at lunchtime, 15,000 members of the Teachers Union of Ireland in schools and colleges throughout the country will protest outside their workplaces demanding a change in Government policy. My question asks the Minister to face up to this crisis and to put effective measures in place to solve the crisis, including the introduction of pay parity for young teachers who commenced employment on or after 1 January 2011.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton Reduced pay scales for new entrants to the public service were introduced in 2010. I am pleased that, under the Lansdowne Road Agreement, together with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I negotiated a programme of pay restoration with the teacher unions. Through this process, a 15% to 22% pay increase was negotiated for new teachers. The agreements to date have restored an estimated 75% of the difference in pay for newer teachers and deliver full equality at later points in the scale. As a result of these changes, the current starting salary of a new teacher is €35,958 and, from 1 October 2020, will be €37,692. This is a very competitive graduate salary, as the CSO reports today have confirmed.

I have successfully hired over 5,000 extra teachers in the last two years. We are hiring more teachers than at any other point in the State’s history.

Any further negotiation on new entrant pay is a cross-sectoral issue, not just an issue for the education sector. The public service stability agreement 2018-20 contains a commitment to consider the issue of newly qualified teacher pay within 12 months of the agreement’s commencement and that process has started. Also, the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform will lay a report before the Oireachtas on the cost of, and a plan for dealing with, pay equalisation for new entrants within three months of the passing of the Act.

On the issue of teacher supply, the Deputy may wish to note that I have already announced a number of measures to increase the pool of teachers available to schools, in particular to fill short-term vacancies.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy The number of applicants for the postgraduate courses which enable graduates to qualify to become second level teachers has fallen from 2,842 in 2011 to 1,068 last year. That means the number of applicants is now substantially less than half of what it was five years ago – in fact, there has been a collapse of 62% over that period. It is clear that a career as a teacher no longer has the attraction it had even five years ago. Clearly, the combination of salary scale, conditions of service and career prospects are deficient. This is exacerbated by the travesty of paying new entrants at a lower salary scale and providing a pension scheme which is significantly inferior to that enjoyed by their longer-serving colleagues.

Will the Minister, as a first step, equalise the pay scales of new entrants with their colleagues? The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association, which represents 2,800 schools, found that 90% of principals are having difficulties finding qualified or substitute teachers.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy A panel is urgently needed to deal with this matter. The situation at third level is also significantly difficult and there has been a 32% increase in student numbers, a 10% reduction in staff and, not surprisingly, lecturing staff have an increased workload over and above their European colleagues.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy The time is up. The Deputy will have another minute.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy This is damaging and restricting the contribution of institutes to the country.

Deputy Richard Bruton: Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton I assure the Deputy the number of students graduating as teachers is stable. There has been no fall in the number of graduates and what has happened is that we have dramatically increased the level of recruitment.

In terms of graduate supply from the master’s programme referred to by the Deputy, he is right that the number of applicants for that programme has fallen. However, the number graduating from the programme has not. By contrast, the undergraduate programme is massively oversubscribed. There are more than 5,000 seeking to join the undergraduate programme, for which there are only 500 places, and I announced last week that I plan to double the number of places on that undergraduate programme. Of course, that has the advantage in financial terms that a master’s fee does not have to be paid for people going that route. I have also announced that I plan to have quotas for particular subject areas where, as Deputies have pointed out, there is tightness and we need to have ambition, for example, the STEM programme and the foreign languages programme. I am establishing a teachers supply steering group which will work with all of the stakeholders to deliver these programmes. I made immediate changes in terms of the career break and the period that people could work on a career break. I have advised schools that they should not give a career break unless they can, as the circular requires, be assured it is in the best interests of children in the school and that they can fill the position vacated.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy The Minister’s reply reminds me of that old adage: everybody is wrong except my Johnny. The ETBs, the Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools, the joint managerial bodies, the trade unions and everybody else have acknowledged there is a significant crisis in recruitment and retention of teachers and it is getting worse. The suggestion that restricting career breaks would help is not correct and would, in fact, worsen the situation and mean we have teachers emigrating.

We must continue to have the most able people teaching our children. The continuation of current Government policy will do lasting damage to the education system. Bad and all as the situation is now, official documents and official statistics show that, at second level alone, there will be an additional 85,000 students by 2025, which will require an additional 4,000 teachers.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Thank you, Deputy.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy I am again calling on the Minister to put in place real measures, including pay parity and a panel—–

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy): Information on Eugene Murphy Zoom on Eugene Murphy Deputy, please.

Deputy Seamus Healy: Information on Seamus Healy Zoom on Seamus Healy —–to deal with this crisis that is not just immediate but is staring us in the face.

———————————————

Ray Silke Criticises Minister Bruton

Salary scale unfair to young teachers

Irish Times: Saturday, February 3, 2018, 00:02

Sir, – Minister for Education Richard Bruton continues his ongoing assertion that the starting rate of pay for a new teacher is a “very competitive salary” (“Salary for new teachers ‘very competitive’, -says Bruton”, February 1st). From the perspective of fairness, integrity and transparency, he needs to clarify his point in saying that “the starting salary for a full-time teacher” is very competitive.

In my experience, very few young teachers get full-time positions for a number of years after qualification and many are teaching in excess of six and seven years and still do not have full hours.

Second, can the Minister please stop mentioning October 2020 as a time when a new teacher’s salary will be “very competitive”?

His reference point is two years and nine months from now, and that projected increase will not pay the rent for newly qualified teachers in the intervening 33 months in such cities as Dublin, Cork, Galway or Limerick. Newly qualified teachers know that buying a house in one of our major cities, or even aspiring to own one, is totally beyond their reach, unless of course the bank of mammy and daddy is well packed.

Finally, could the Minister also disclose the fact that the top of a newly qualified teacher’s salary is €67,025. However, please also mention, in the interest of clarity that it will take them – God willing and with good health – 35 years in their chosen profession to get to the top of their salary scale?

One wonders how many of their classmates from university in different roles who qualify with a degree, and a two-year masters (six years in college normally) at say 25 years of age, will work until they are 60 years of age to get to the top of their salary scale?

The Minster should consider shortening the existing 35-year salary scale rather than trying to encourage retired teachers to come back into the profession. – Yours, etc,

RAY SILKE,

Moycullen, Co Galway.

————————————————————————————————————————

Priority  Question from Seamus Healy TD  For Oral Answer at 10.30 AM, Thursday,Feb 1

Priority Question: To Minister For Education, Richard Bruton TD

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will immediately end the unequal remuneration of new entrants to the teaching profession  as a key step in addressing shortages of teaching staff and equality of treatment for teachers and

If he will outline what further measures he is taking to  end the teaching shortage and

If all such measures have been agreed with the teaching unions concerned ,

And if he will make a statement on the matter?

Seamus Healy TD   087-2802199

“All education stakeholders now acknowledge that there is an unprecedented crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers,” said TUI president Joanne Irwin.

“However, it is regrettable in the extreme, and foolish, that the Government is still refusing to acknowledge or commit to the only guaranteed cure.”

Statement by Teaching Unions and Managerial Bodies Below

But Black Propaganda is the government Response!!!!

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

The Department of Education and Science 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. 

‘Collapse’ in numbers applying for teacher-training courses

Carl O’Brien, Irish Times  Monday, January 8, 2018, 01:00

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.

© 2018 irishtimes.com


No overall problem with teacher supply, insists Department of Education

Carl O’Brien Irish Times: Monday, January 8, 2018, 19:50

The Department of Education has insisted there is no overall problem with teacher supply but has acknowledged there are “pinch points” across key subjects.

While school managers and teacher unions say there has been a “collapse” in the numbers applying to be teachers, the department says the numbers graduating at primary and post-primary have remained relatively steady.

“Over 5,000 permanent, full-time teachers have been hired since Minister Bruton was appointed, almost 2,400 in primary schools and just over 2,850 in post primary schools,” a department spokeswoman said.

“All of these positions have been filled. There is no overall problem with teacher supply. The official figures support this.”

She said Minister for Education Richard Bruton was committed to addressing pinch points in subjects such as Stem – science, technology, engineering and maths – and foreign languages through measures such as financial incentives.

However, the Teachers Union of Ireland said the “crisis” of teacher recruitment and retention will continue to worsen until the process of pay equalisation for those appointed since 2011 is accelerated.

“All education stakeholders now acknowledge that there is an unprecedented crisis in the recruitment and retention of teachers,” said TUI president Joanne Irwin.

“However, it is regrettable in the extreme, and foolish, that the Government is still refusing to acknowledge or commit to the only guaranteed cure.”

She said even if graduates were to be “lured” to a training course in a certain subject area, there was no guarantee they will end up teaching for any length of time, particularly when they will be “discriminated against from the get-go in terms of pay”.

Expense

Fianna Fáil’s education spokesman Thomas Byrne said a key factor in falling numbers of applications was the expense of a two-year master’s course, which replaced the old one-year higher diploma.

These can cost between €10,000 and €5,000 a year.

“The cost of training keeps increasing and more and more of a burden is put on prospective teachers. We need to examine how we can alleviate the cost, especially in the Stem subjects,” he said.

“The situation simply isn’t sustainable if we want to attract quality recruits to the profession. There is also an issue with the prohibitive skills requirements for perspective teachers and I believe this is something that needs to be addressed.”

Mr Byrne said Fianna Fáil has been pushing for measures to encourage people to apply for teacher training courses, including the restoration of postgraduate grants.

The Department of Education also played down the issue of unqualified and unregistered teachers being used in schools. It said they were employed as substitutes in just 3 per cent of cases.

These figures relate to primary level only. The department does not have up to date information on the number of “out-of-field” teachers at second level who are teaching subjects which they are not qualified for.

School managers say this is turning into a “crisis” and that it is difficult to source qualified teachers in Irish, European languages, maths or science subjects.

Categories: Uncategorized