Friday 24 February 2017

Teachers will be promoted on merit in shake-up

Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A major shake-up in how teachers are promoted is being introduced from September, the Irish Independent has learned.

The days are gone when the person with the longest service was in pole position for middle- management posts worth up to €8,520 extra per year.

The new selection process will bring a major culture change in how jobs are awarded in schools.

Coupled with the moratorium on filling many of these posts, it could make the promotion and associated pay rise more elusive for many long-serving teachers.

The traditional system allowed teachers to predict when to expect promotion, based on projected retirement dates for those ahead of them.

In the future, criteria such as interpersonal and communications skills will carry as much weight as seniority.

In all, there will be five criteria and the others relate to meeting the needs of the job as well as having capacity to contribute to the overall organisation and management of the school. Each of the five will carry 20 marks.

Phased

The arrangements are being phased in at second-level from the new school year and similar procedures are in the process of being finalised at primary level.

Initially they will be used to fill one-in-three promotional posts. By 2013-14, half of all available promotional posts will be filled using the new system and from 2015-16 onwards the new arrangements will be fully embedded.

The jobs involved are assistant principal, worth an extra €8,520 a year, and special duties teacher, such as being a year head or co-ordinating certain activities such as time-tabling, worth an additional €3,769 a year.

Before the moratorium on filling promotional posts was introduced as a cost-cutting measure in March 2009, more than half of all teachers -- at least 30,000 -- had a promotional position at a total cost of €236m. These included principals, deputy principals and assistant principals in the country's 4,000 schools, as well as 17,400 teachers with special duties posts.

Education Minister Mary Coughlan has described the number of promotional posts as "unsustainable".

It is estimated that the moratorium has left about 1,200 assistant principal and special duties posts across both the primary and post primary sectors vacant. Some of these can now be filled -- one-third of them in accordance with the new rules.

Irish Independent

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