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Friday 24 February 2017

Teachers campaign to reverse freeze on filling posts

John Walshe Education Editor

Schools have been warned that problems with classroom discipline will increase if the Government does not reverse a freeze on filling middle-management posts.

And hostilities between teachers and the Government will intensify if the unions escalate their campaign against the government-imposed moratorium on filling the posts.

Up to now, a major headache has been avoided by rotating other staff for positions that are not being filled.

Leaders of four unions will today discuss details of the precise nature of the further action on the recruitment freeze as well as on pay and pensions.

A sign of their growing militancy is the decision by the ASTI executive not to invite Education Minister Batt O'Keeffe to their annual convention at Easter unless the moratorium ends. The decision was carried by 69 to 59 votes.

Sources said last night that Mr O'Keeffe "would not be too perturbed over not being invited by the ASTI".

Last year, the ASTI, along with the TUI and INTO, agreed that the duties attached to middle management could be rotated or reassigned by principals so that priority would be given to areas such as special education, pastoral care, year-head teams and organising exams.

The understanding was that less urgent duties would not be undertaken if assistant principal or special duties posts were lost.

But the ASTI central executive has voted, in effect, to end the agreement. The leadership of the Teachers' Union of Ireland is also believed to favour banning rotational or reassigned post duties. So far, the issue has not been discussed by the INTO executive.

Issues

A directive banning co-operation with the reassignment of duties would cause serious issues for many schools, according to Clive Bryne, National Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputies.

The association has warned of the 'drip-drip effects' of the moratorium in schools where duties are not being undertaken. The effect is cumulative as more people either retire or are promoted to principalships or deputy principalships -- the only senior positions being filled.

If the unions banned the rotation or prioritisation of duties for middle-ranking post holders, it would lead to disciplinary problems where pastoral care and year-head teams were not being replaced.

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Irish Independent

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