Opinion Letters

Friday 13 December 2019

Pupils deserve the best teachers

Open letter to Batt O'Keeffe:

A substitute supply panel has served the primary schools of Finglas for the past 17 years. An invaluable resource to our schools, it means qualified, vetted teachers are available to cover short-term absences, thus ensuring that the education of many of the most disadvantaged children in our community continues largely uninterrupted.

Your decision to abolish this service next September will make it very hard to provide substitute cover.

It is extremely difficult to find substitute teachers who are available and willing to teach in a disadvantaged school. The supply-panel teachers are familiar with the schools, they understand the children they teach, are known to the pupils, have a deep understanding of the particular challenges that educational disadvantage present and are skilled to meet those challenges.

A direct consequence of disbanding the supply panel will be the splitting up of classes while principals attempt to find substitutes, thus increasing class sizes. This action compounds the disadvantage already endured by these children. It can frequently take days to source a substitute who is qualified and garda vetted.

Is this fair to our pupils?

Our pupils will pay a price in terms of teaching time lost.

We call on you to stand up for the right of all children to be taught by a qualified teacher every day. Reverse this short-sighted decision to disband the supply panel.

Bernie O'Sullivan, Principal, St Brigid's Girls' School,
Cepta Ball, Principal, St Brigid's Infants' School,
SiobhAn Moss, Acting Principal, St Kevin's BNS,
Marian Farrelly, Principal, St Joseph's GNS,
Stephen Kennedy, Principal, St Fergal's BNS,
Leah NI MhaolAin, Gaelscoil UI EarcAin,
Helen Coleman, Principal, St Finian's NS,
Ruth O'Reilly, Principal, St Canice's GNS,
Brendan Kelly, Principal, St Canice's GBNS,
Helen Burns, Principal, St Oliver Plunkett's NS,
Eleanor Fahey, Principal, Mother of Divine Grace NS,
Fergus Hamill Principal, St Malachy's NS,
Shirley Dunlop, Finglas Parochial School

Irish Independent

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