O’Brien backs investigation into flouting of rules on rehiring of primary school teachers

Sinn Féin’s Education Spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien has welcomed the investigation that is to be carried out into schools that are failing to implement rules regarding the rehiring of primary school teachers as substitutes. The Cork North Central TD was responding to an investigation ordered by Education Minister Ruairí Quinn to exam why some schools are flouting the guidelines and employing retired primary teachers to provide cover for staff on sick or maternity leave. He said: “I understand that as recently as October, 237 retired teachers had been employed as subs in some of the country’s 3,200 primary schools. “This is simply inexcusable considering the fact that 1,800 new primary teachers graduate each year and many struggle to find employment. “In addition to this, newly qualified teachers have been hit hard by wage cuts and loss of allowances and many have been forced to emigrate because of the lack of employment opportunities. “I welcome the fact that Minister Quinn has initiated an investigation into the unacceptably high number of retired teachers being redeployed as substitute teachers. He needs to do all within his power to ensure that school principals only use retirees when they cannot find an unemployed graduate to substitute for a teacher on sick or maternity leave. This should only happen in the most exceptional of circumstances and every effort must be made to employ recently qualified teachers whenever a vacancy arises.”

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