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Revealed: The five counties worst hit by shortage of primary school teachers

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Shortage of accommodation in Dublin and other urban areas and the cost of what is available are being blamed for the crippling lack of teachers. Stock image

Shortage of accommodation in Dublin and other urban areas and the cost of what is available are being blamed for the crippling lack of teachers. Stock image

Shortage of accommodation in Dublin and other urban areas and the cost of what is available are being blamed for the crippling lack of teachers. Stock image

The primary teacher shortage blackspots have been laid bare in a new survey.

Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kildare and Wicklow are by far the worst counties when it comes to schools not having enough teachers to cover classes.

The shortage of accommodation in Dublin and other urban areas and the cost of what is available are blamed for the crippling lack of teachers.

It is a “crisis” according to Páiric Clerkin, CEO of the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN), whose recent survey of primary schools has identified the pinch points.

“We are at crisis point. The situation is critical in Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare,” he told the IPPN conference.

The biggest losers are pupils with special education needs whose support teachers are being pulled away to take over a mainstream class.

The shortages have left up to 900 primary schools nationwide – 27pc of the total – without their full quota of teachers, while many more are lacking subs for short-term absences.

But the problem is far worse in Dublin where two in three schools – 65pc – don’t have a full quota of staff, while in Kildare the figure is 52pc and in Wicklow it is 46pc.

While other counties are faring better, and some may be feeling little impact, the heavily populated areas of Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare account for a significant proportion of primary pupils.

Nationally, an average of 87pc of primary schools report challenges recruiting subs, but in some counties it is even higher than that.

According to the IPPN survey, Wicklow is the worst blackspot for subs, with 100pc of schools responding to the survey saying they had difficulties getting subs. In Dublin it is 98pc, in Kildare 92pc, in Galway 90pc and in Cork 80pc.

The impact on pupils with special needs is obvious. Countrywide, more than four in five – 83pc – of the schools say they have had to redeploy a special education teacher to cover a mainstream class, but it’s higher than that in some counties

In Kildare, all schools responding to the survey had resorted to moving a special education teacher away from their core duties to cover an absence, while in Wicklow 96pc said they had done that. In Galway the figure was 90pc and in Dublin 86pc.

Mr Clerkin said today that while the staffing crisis was impacting on all pupils, it was especially affecting the most vulnerable children.

“Many of our special education teachers are finding themselves placed in classrooms simply to keep schools open,” he said.


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