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‘Housing crisis is putting education system at risk,’ say unions as teachers and lecturers urged to join Raise the Roof rally

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A shortage of teachers due to the housing crisis is now affecting the ability to provide education to our children, unions say. Stock image

A shortage of teachers due to the housing crisis is now affecting the ability to provide education to our children, unions say. Stock image

INTO chief John Boyle wants to see affordable housing

INTO chief John Boyle wants to see affordable housing

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A shortage of teachers due to the housing crisis is now affecting the ability to provide education to our children, unions say. Stock image

Unions have warned that the housing crisis is posing a serious risk to the education system.

The lack of accommodation is being felt in schools and colleges, representatives for teachers and lecturers say.

This is impacting staffing, with teachers walking away from jobs in Dublin and other urban centres because of the cost of housing.

A recent survey highlighted how two in three primary schools in the capital are unable to fill their staffing allocation, and neighbouring counties of Kildare and Wicklow are badly affected too.

These areas, along with Galway and Cork, also have big challenges recruiting substitute teachers.

Meanwhile, many teachers ona daily basis bear witness to the difficulties experienced by pupils from homeless families and often feel helpless to respond effectively.

The six education unions representing 110,000 teachers, lecturers, special needs assistants (SNAs), school caretakers and other education staff are urging their members to support the Raise the Roof housing rally next Saturday.

The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI), Fórsa, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO), the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT), Siptu’s education branch and the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), have issued a joint statement accusing the Government of a failed housing policy. The grouping said the Government must be made “to fully understand the scale of the crisis and the impact on the delivery of essential public services”.

The unions point to schools and colleges struggling to recruit and retain critical staff and citing severe difficulties in relation to the availability and affordability of accommodation.

According to the unions, “the effective delivery of education is now fundamentally at risk if we don’t take steps to tackle the chronic housing challenges we are facing”.

They also express concern about how homelessness is becoming “a far too familiar feature of the Irish education landscape”. They say schools and colleges have become places of sanctuary for pupils who find themselves in such circumstances.

“Our members report that they often feel helpless, powerless, and ill-equipped to effectively respond to, and support pupils who are experiencing homelessness,” they added.

INTO general secretary John Boyle said: “With hundreds of thousands of people, including teachers, locked out of the property market, the Raise the Roof campaign is calling on Government to establish a policy framework for affordable housing for rent, purchase and shared ownership.”


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