Thursday 18 January 2018

Schools hiring retired staff face reprimand

Ruairi Quinn
Ruairi Quinn

EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn is threatening to "name and shame" primary schools that persist in employing retired teachers.

Mr Quinn told the Irish Independent he was concerned some schools were engaged in the "cosy practice" of giving preference to retirees because it suited them.

Latest figures show retired teachers are continuing to be called in for substitution work for extended periods, while graduates struggle to find a job.

This is despite the introduction of regulations obliging principals to use retirees only where all efforts to employ a newly qualified or unemployed teacher have failed.

While the use of retirees has fallen dramatically since the rules were tightened in 2011, data provided to the Irish Independent shows that 387 were employed for varying periods between September and the February mid-term break.

In some cases, the same retired teacher may have been employed in different schools.

Principals in more remote areas say they may have no alternative but to employ a retiree living locally, but there is concern that the practice is continuing in Dublin.

According to the department's data, provided under Freedom of Information legislation, between 85 and 86 retired teachers were employed in the Dublin city and county area in the September to February period.

Cosy

Mr Quinn said: "Despite my best efforts to discourage the practice, and it may be a cosy practice, there seems to be sufficient evidence to suggest that in areas where there would be a ready range of qualified teachers – urban areas, as distinct from remote areas – that the practice is continuing."

He said he would be discussing the matter with the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) on the margins of their conference next week, but he was "contemplating getting into the business of naming and shaming".

But the INTO hit back and said while the rehiring of retired teachers on a regular basis, or for extended time periods, was indefensible, the practice was down to a trickle.

Irish Independent

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