Teacher's pet


The talk of education

The slow-bicyclepace towards Croke Park 2 is continuing but the consequences for the education sector remain unclear.

The department’s senior official in charge of industrial relations, assistant secretary Pat Burke, has still to reveal the department’s wish list for the talks. At this early stage, the teacher unions know they will be expected to deliver some €350 million in savings over the lifetime of any new deal, but there are few other details.

It appears , from various leaks, that the department is targeting the Substitution and Supervision (S&S). But since these payments are pensionable, it’s by no means clear how any cuts could be achieved.

The current S&S scheme, which costs more than €300 million a year, was created as a sop to the ASTI after the bitter dispute which closed schools a decade ago. Four years ago, the McCarthy “Bord Snip Nua” report targeted €100 million in annual savings from the scheme.

McCarthy pointed out how the S&S scheme meant primary teachers are “now paid an additional amount for performing duties that they previously carried out without additional compensation.

“At second level, it means that teachers are now paid additional amounts for supervision and substitution duties which they perform while they are not timetabled for tuition.”

Any attempt to dismantle the S&S scheme will provoke a ferocious reaction from the teacher unions.

"You have brought new transparency to Marlborough Street, though I don’t think you’ll be doing a sequel to ‘Inside the Department’. By the way, have your advisers figured out yet the number of schools west of Dingle?"

Sean Cottrell, director of the Irish Primary Principals Network, on Ruairí Quinn at last week’s IPPN conference


Number of applicants for every teacher-training place, according to Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn in the Dáil last week.

Interesting to see those new figures indicating that just one in 500 lecturers is in the “super salary” category of €150,000 or more.

The largest group, about 40 per cent, earn between €40,000 and €60,000.

Mike Jennings of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) pointed out how pay levels for administrative and other non-academic staff are significantly higher than for lecturers and academics.


Number of nonacademic staff across the higher- education sector. There are 9,300 academics in the sector.

Seán Flynn is the Teacher’s Pet. email sflynn@irishtimes.com Twitter – @SeanFlynnEd

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