Tuesday 20 August 2019

Croke Park hours force teachers to cut back extra-curricular activities

Teachers Karen McAdam and Denyse Hughes from Dublin at the ASTI conference in Killarney yesterday
Teachers Karen McAdam and Denyse Hughes from Dublin at the ASTI conference in Killarney yesterday
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

Teachers are pulling back on extra curricular activities in their schools because of growing resentment towards the 'Croke Park hours'.

About 500 ASTI delegates have voted in favour of dropping the controversial 33 hours of additional non-class contact hours agreed under the terms of the Croke Park Agreement.

A notice of motion at their annual conventional in Killarney, adopted without opposition, called for the hours to be rescinded in light of the recent economic recovery.

Delegate Siobhan O'Donovan, a French and English teacher at Mallow's Patrician Academy, said the extra hours were proving counter-productive at a lot of schools - because teachers were less willing to engage in extra curricular activities they were not paid for.

Teachers are obliged to work the additional hours but don't receive any extra payment.

"I know of colleagues of mine who have pulled back on extra-curricular activities and it's certainly something that I would consider doing," she said.

"If you're going to measure out your life in terms of hours here and hours there, well then I'll have to stop doing the school tour, which I do every year.

"I'll have to stop taking the debating team, which alone could easily take up 33 hours, but I love it."

Ms O'Donovan said there were other ways of spending these hours that were more productive, and teachers were more inclined to adopt the view they would work the extra 33 hours but no more.

"Instead of going away for three nights with a bunch of 42 teenage boys, I'll just stay at home and do the 33 hours I'm obliged to do. And that is happening.

"We were never paid for them in the past, so they were part of an agreement that is now null and void, therefore they should be null and void also," she added.

ASTI members have also called for the Public Service Pension Levy to be removed, which they say has had the effect of reducing all teachers' pay by about 7.5pc.

Teachers' pay will continue to dominate discussions on day two of the three-day convention today with two motions addressing the issue of new teachers' pay.

Teachers are looking for the restoration of the pre 2011 common basic pay scale for all teachers.

They're also seeking the reinstatement of qualification allowances for all post 2011 entrants.

The ASTI claims Budget 2011 slashed new teachers' pay by up to 10pc, which was followed by further cuts to pay allowances.

Irish Independent

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