Monday 22 January 2018

Education Minister announces new plans to keep school costs to a minimum, as primary teachers demand equal pay

Education Minister Richard Bruton Picture: Steve Humphries
Education Minister Richard Bruton Picture: Steve Humphries
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

PRIMARY teachers have delivered a strong call to Education Minister Richard Bruton to deliver equal pay for younger members.

Mr Bruton arrived at the cross-border INTO teachers congress at the Waterfront in Belfast to be greeted by a phalanx of silent protesters in t-shirts brandishing placards demanding ‘fair pay for teachers’ and ‘equal pay for equal work.’

The first Fine Gael Education Minister to address the congress in 30 years, he told delegates that he was glad to negotiate significant pay improvements for young teachers, with a 15pc increase from last September and a 22pc increase the year before.

While they had closed the pay gap by about 75pc, he acknowledged: “I know from your demonstrations that your ambitions go well beyond that.”

There was a brief moment of heckling and out murmurs of “no, no,” when he spoke of how a new model for allocating resource teachers would be “better and fairer, dispensing with need for diagnostic assessments.”

He announced a €2.5m fund to bring forward young people from disadvantaged areas or with disabilities to become teachers, saying they had the ability to be a ‘beacon’ in their communities.

The Minister also said that he will be issuing a letter to schools in relation to costs, saying that no unnecessary cost barriers should be put in place for parents, that parents should have a say and that where there are opportunities for saving, that these opportunities are seized.

He later suggested that this might mean schools using iron-on crests for uniforms and generic items where possible.

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