Sunday 20 August 2017

Cool response to partial lifting of ban on filling posts

Brian McDonald

THE proposed partial lifting of the ban on filling posts of responsibility in schools has been given a cool reception by teachers.

Newly-appointed Education Minister Mary Coughlan confirmed a limited alleviation of the moratorium on the filling of middle-management posts.

But secondary teachers at the annual ASTI convention in Galway described the moratorium as a further pay cut to teachers who were long overdue promotion, while everybody was in the dark about exactly what the minister was proposing.

The ban on filling the posts of responsibility, including the appointment of assistant principals, has already caused major disruption in schools. And yesterday, speakers at the ASTI convention warned that if all of the posts were not reinstated schools would be unmanageable by next September.

They insisted that the only reason Ms Coughlan had offered a partial alleviation of the ban was because of the effectiveness of an ASTI directive instructing teachers not to carry out duties associated with a suppressed position.

Retirements

Galway delegate Sarah Witheroe proposed a motion seeking the reinstatement of all posts of responsibility and the immediate lifting of the ban.

"It should be realised that this moratorium affects everyone in school--students, management and parents -- and it's in everyone's interest that it is completely lifted," said Ms Witheroe.

Stillorgan delegate Sally Maguire pointed out that there had been 650 retirements from teaching last year and all the indications were that the number would reach 1,000 this year. Six assistant principals had left one school alone, she said.

Mick Evans of Cork South described the ban as "a reckless, dangerous and irresponsible strategy" which was putting young people at risk.

"It's a slash-and-burn strategy by the Government and to hell with the consequences. They have driven thousands of idealistic young graduates out of the country.

"People are deciding in their hundreds to leave teaching. This has catastrophic implications for our schools", he said.

Bernard Lynch of Dublin said that, while he would support the motion, it was not nearly strong enough. "I want to see anger. I want to see war. They (the Government) have destroyed our lives. We need to completely abandon all contact with this Government from hell", he said.

The motion was passed unanimously.

Irish Independent

Editors Choice

Also in Life