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Second-level schools continue to struggle to fill job vacancies -report


(stock photo)

(stock photo)

(stock photo)

The teacher shortage is getting worse, with almost four in five second-level schools report receiving no application for a recently advertised post.

The growing struggle post-primary schools face in filling vacancies is highlighted in a new survey.

In the past six months, 77pc of principals reported advertising jobs for which no one applied, up from 68pc in a survey conducted last April.

More than half of the schools, 56pc, have unfilled vacancies due to recruitment and retention difficulties, up from 47pc.

Overall, almost all schools, 97pc, say they had difficulties recruiting teachers in the past six months.

Half (49pc) of schools also experienced teacher retention difficulties in the same period.

Irish was the subject in which schools faced the most severe recruitment/retention difficulties, followed by Home Economics, French, Maths, Spanish, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, German and PE.

When asked to rank reasons for the recruitment and retention difficulties, the primary cause was deemed to be more attractive options for new graduates in other employments.

This was followed by lower pay rates for new teachers, unavailability of contracts of full hours upon appointment and accommodation costs in the vicinity of the school.

The survey was conducted by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), across 130 schools around the country.

TUI President Seamus Lahart blames the shortage on two-tier pay scales, which have resulted in lower pay for teachers recruited since January 2011.

The TUI’s 19,000 members in hundreds of post-primary schools, as well as colleges of education and institutes of technology, are engaging in a one-day stoppage next Tuesday on the pay equality issue.

Mr Lahart said the survey findings made “clear the severe damage that the injustice of the two-tier pay system is doing to the education system and the service to students.”

For students, it meant often missing out on subject choices or being taught by ‘out-of-field’ teachers.

He said graduates who might formerly have chosen teaching are now looking at different options, with schools in both urban and rural areas routinely struggling to attract applicants to fill vacant positions.”

“The only way to resolve these difficulties is to end the divisive, irresponsible and damaging practice of paying colleagues different rates for carrying out the same work.

"Irrespective of how the new Government is constituted, a commitment to an immediate ending of pay discrimination must form part of its programme."

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