Tuesday 21 May 2019

Call out to teachers overseas

A Dundalk secondary school principal has highlighted a severe crisis in staffing for schools.

Deirdre Matthews, who heads St. Vincent's Secondary School, raised staffing issues during the annual conference of the JMB (Joint Management Body) last week.

The conference heard that Education Minister Joe McHugh will travel to the United Arab Emirates to meet with Irish teachers who made the decision to work in the Middle East.

The visit is part of efforts being made to ascertain their interest in returning home to teach.

It is estimated that there are thousands of Irish graduates teaching in the UAE, at a time while schools in Ireland are suffering severe shortages.

JMB president Deirdre Matthews, told the Minister that the most pressing problem for school leaders was teacher supply.

Second-level schools have particular difficulties recruiting for a range of subjects, including maths and other STEM subjects, Irish, foreign languages and home economics.

As well as permanent positions, Ms Mathews said that filling the gaps on a timetable that arise through teacher absences while on approved leave had been the greatest challenge facing schools this year.

Ms Matthews said it was important that the Minister understood that the crisis now affected all subject areas during the school year.

The Department of Education has said it is working on a number of responses to teacher shortages and Mr McHugh's planned visit to the UAE is among them.

The Argus