Revealed: Pay boost for teachers marking Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle papers amid examiner shortage

School pupils sitting exams

Katherine Donnelly

A shortage of teachers coming forward to mark Leaving Cert and Junior Cycle written exams has prompted a further increase in pay rates.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC) has re-launched its examiner recruitment campaign with an offer of enhanced pay for 2023.

It amounts to an additional €900 for Leaving Cert and Leaving Cert Applied written examiners and an additional €700 for Junior Cycle written examiners.

The 2023 incentive payment will mean Leaving Cert examiners, typically, may earn between €7,721 and €10,844 depending on the subject marked, the SEC states.

In the case of the Junior Cycle, with the addition of the 2023 incentive payment, examiners typically earn between €4,858 and €5,010 depending on the subject marked.

The final amount is a combination of one-off payments, such as for attending a marking conference, a rate per paper marked, and the 2023 incentive.

The SEC describes the 2023 increase as a Written Examiners Recruitment and Retention Incentive Payment and say it is one-off.

The SEC has struggled in recent years to recruit enough examiners for the written, oral and practical exams.

While rates have been steadily increasing, a further rise has been approved for 2023.

Examiners are also paid for travel, accommodation and meals in line with Department of Public Expenditure & Reform Public Sector travel and subsistence rules and rates.

The SEC has identified the shortage of teachers coming forward to assess and mark in the State exams as a major contributor in recent delays in issuing results.

Once again this year, Leaving Cert results will be delayed until early September, which is causing serious concern in higher education.

Another reason for the delayed results – which, traditionally, were issued in mid-August - is the recently-introduced second sitting of the Leaving Cert in July, for students who suffer bereavement or serious illness in June.

Issues around manging the grade inflation linked to the exceptional assessment arrangements at the height of the Covid pandemic, when grades were based on teachers’ marks, is also a factor.

The SEC said it had been undertaking a comprehensive review of the issue of recruitment for examiners with the core objective to substantially increase the numbers of teachers involved in the work .

“The experience is a positive one which greatly enhances teacher professional competence as well as earning power, “ the SEC said.

The Sec added that a working group, comprising representatives of school management bodies and teacher unions, had been established to look at measures designed to ensure the availability of teachers in the required numbers to engage in this critical work in a sustainable way into the future.

“Teachers are the lifeblood of the national examinations system and the SEC relies on their involvement in the marking of the examinations.

“With their support and the support of all of the education stakeholders, we can deliver the annual state examinations service for the benefit of individual students, the education system and society in general,” it added

The oral exams take place next week and  pay rates been improved to reflect the move to the first week of the Easter holidays, which is continuing this year..

Teachers who conduct the orals next week might expect to earn between €1,616 and €2,614.