Principal dons Superman jacket and tie to highlight government hypocrisy
'The Government can say we are superheroes - but we're struggling in schools'
There were roars of approving laughter when a teacher donned a Superman jacket and tie to highlight the Government hypocrisy of telling teachers they are superheroes while failing to give them the resources to do their job.
Niall Crofton, principal of St Brendan's Boys School in Birr, Co Offaly, told the INTO congress that, like most schools, his school had taken a total funding hit of €28,000 since 2011 because of the reduction in capitation grants.
"That hole can be seen in the day-to-day things like light, heat and water charges," he said, adding: "Nobody wants to talk about it because it is embarrassing for schools."
He knows schools where parents are coming in to do the cleaning at night because the principal cannot afford to pay a cleaner, he revealed, while teachers are forced to pay for provisions such as paint and pencils out of their own money because there are no funds in the kitty. Other schools are forced to cut the heating down from five hours during winter to three-and-a-half hours.
"They [the Government] can say we are superheroes but if they don't give us the capitation grants we need, you are plugging holes," Niall said.
Separately at the TUI's conference in Co Cork, teacher Emer Scanlon warned that the issue of teacher morale cannot be overstated in terms of pay restoration. "Morale is at an all-time low. The mood in staff rooms is quite down. Now that times are better, they want to see goodwill and investment from the Government. They want to see a bit of appreciation."
Emer teaches in Ramsgrange, Co Wexford.