Educated for export: young Irish teachers making a buck in UK
Published 06/09/2015 | 02:30
It has cost the Irish taxpayer millions to educate them but last week hundreds of Irish teachers began their careers - in British classrooms.
Growing numbers of our qualified primary and secondary school teachers are taking jobs in UK schools as relocation figures surge by almost 20pc, the Sunday Independent can reveal.
In the last year, Engage Education - a private education recruitment company - report a 17pc surge placing Irish teachers in schools in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and elsewhere in the UK.
Teachers, in their 20s and 30s who have emigrated, point to lack of jobs in Irish schools, a rise in unstable temporary contracts and the stress to complete their 'Post-Qualified Experience' (PQE) requirements.
From June to September, Engage Education - which has over 3000 client schools in England - received some 700 calls from frustrated Irish teachers.
The recruiters anticipate that over 2,000 will enquire about making a move by the end of the year.
John Carr, of Engage Education said their experience suggests that two in every three enquiries would result in that candidate "progressing forward" and interviewing for a position in a UK school.
"Demand is higher than last year. For as long as the Government stops giving the green light for the creation of teaching posts and active redeployment programmes within schools it simply means we are turning out graduates as teachers without offering them any chance for employment," he said.
The categories of teachers enquiring about work in Britain include new graduates as well as those qualified in the last five years and still struggling to become established.
Financial incentive, career progression and the quick transition to permanency are cited by candidates.
"There is an increasing amount of teachers who have been qualified for a number of years but who are going from temporary contract to temporary contract and simply want a permanent job, and they are much more readily available in the UK," he said.
Mr Carr, a former post- primary principal, says the dearth of stable opportunities in the Irish education market makes it extremely difficult for recent graduates to "jump through additional hoops" set by the Teaching Council.
"Under PQE second-level teachers have to accumulate 300 hours in their subject areas within three years and primary school teachers they have to amass 100 days within those three years in order to get full membership," he said.
Irish teachers can land jobs in Britain within days - after interview, visiting the school and signing a contract.
Although this figure is mostly based on second level, the recruiters anticipate that more Irish primary school teachers will be targeted over the next few years.
"Due to the population boom in the UK , there will be a significantly large emphasis and need for more primary teachers over the coming years which, obviously, will lead to greater demand internationally for teachers in this area," said Mr Carr.
Frustrations over Government cutbacks and particularly financial taxes is also forcing some well-established teachers to take a career break from their Irish school to teach in the UK.
"It is quite lucrative to teach within the UK, availing of the tax systems that they have over there [in] that there is no pension levy, there is no increased USC and teachers aren't penalised along the lines they would be in Ireland," said Mr Carr.
However, the brain-drain problem is also spreading into other industries.
Tom Healy, director of the Nevin Economic Research Institute (NERI) said: "My impression is that precarious work is widespread across sectors, including even growing and dynamic ones such as finance, IT and other services".
"It is likely that some areas such as teaching are particularly badly impacted because of the legacy of restrictions on public sector recruitment.
"I think that some sub-sectors are particularly affected and media is one of them," he said.