Thursday 22 February 2018

Schools will cut activities if cover hit by Croke Park

SCHOOLS face running out of teachers to provide supervision and substitution cover by Thursdays and Fridays of each week under Croke Park II changes, second-level managers have warned.

They say severe pressure will also be felt in the last two months of the school year, when teachers have completed their annual quota of supervision and substitution hours.

They warn that the lack of substitution cover for teachers will lead to schools severely reducing the extra-curricular programme for pupils.

The concerns about the impact of Croke Park II on school life have been raised by the Joint Managerial Body (JMB) in a letter to Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.

The JMB, which represents management in more than half of post-primary schools, says the proposals do not have the interests of young people at their core and that pupils will be the losers.

The Catholic Primary School Managers Association (CPSMA) has expressed similar disquiet in a letter to Mr Quinn.

Among the chief worries of JMB members is the radical change proposed in the supervision and substitution scheme, which, they say, "will not work".

The voluntary scheme is being replaced with a contractual obligation on each teacher to provide 49 hours a year, subject to a maximum of two hours and 15 minutes a week, for these duties.

This means that as the week goes on, teachers may have already worked the required hours.

JMB general secretary Ferdia Kelly said principals and deputy principals would be left with no option on health and safety grounds, but to spend long hours engaged in both supervision and substitution on top of an already major workload associated with managing a school.

Pressure

The JMB also warns that salary cuts will cause an exodus of experienced staff, and dissuade others from taking senior positions, putting principals under impossible pressure.

"Regrettably the education system will be the poorer for this loss and the pupils currently in schools and Irish society at large will be the losers".

The letter notes the many educational initiatives being rolled out and the expectation that principals will lead the school community in working towards the improvement of teaching and learning.

"How can a principal possibly make time or have the creative and physical energy for such vital work when they are already snowed under with other work?" asked Mr Kelly.

Irish Independent

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