Monday 18 November 2019

One third of recent entrants to post-primary teaching believe it is unlikely they will be in the profession in 10 years

81pc of teachers surveyed said differentiated pay rates among staff had negative effects on morale Photo: PA
81pc of teachers surveyed said differentiated pay rates among staff had negative effects on morale Photo: PA
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

Almost one in three of recent entrants to post-primary teaching believe it is unlikely, or very unlikely, that they will still be in the profession in 10 years, a recent survey found.

Morale in staffrooms has been dented by lower pay rates for new entrants and an increase in workloads, according to the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI).

The TUI, which represents more than 16,000 teachers and third-level lecturers, has released the findings of the survey, conducted last month, ahead of its annual conference, which opens tomorrow

One of main topics on the agenda at the conference will be calls for an acceleration of pay parity, through an end to the lower pay scales for new entrants, introduced during the austerity era.

More than eight in 10 (81pc) of those who responded to the survey said that differentiated pay rates have had a negative or very negative effect on staff morale in their school.

The survey also examined workload issues, with 91pc stating that bureaucratic duties regularly deflected from their teaching, while 96pc said that their workload had increased significantly in recent years.

TUI president Joanne Irwin, said “quite clearly, the scandal of pay inequality has had a deeply negative effect on the profession".

While progress had been made, at a time when schools are struggling to attract teachers for an increasing number of subjects due to more lucrative options in other employments, the process of pay equalisation required urgent acceleration, she said.

Ms Irwin said the next necessary step in the process was the restoration of the H. Dip. (now PME) allowance, “and our campaign will continue until all teachers have the same pay rates, regardless of whether they entered the profession before or since 2011”.

She said the work of teachers had become excessively administrative, with increased focus on what many teachers see as form-filling and box-ticking duties that deflected from the core functions of teaching and learning.

There had also been a marked increase in workload, a legacy of an era of cutbacks that worsened the pupil/teacher ratio, dismantled middle-management structures and restricted guidance counselling provision, she said.

Ms Irwin said that the finding of  over 90pc of respondents cited  bureaucratic duties as detracting from their core teaching duties was of huge concern:  “Ultimately, students lose out when time is stolen from teaching and learning.”

Online Editors

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News