Only new teachers will not be paid allowances

Wed, Sep 19, 2012, 01:00

NEW ENTRANTS to teaching will bear the brunt of the Government’s cuts to allowances for the sector.

Under plans announced yesterday, established teachers will retain various allowances worth about €506 million a year.

New entrants will not receive any qualification allowances – worth about €4,500 annually to a teacher with an honours primary degree in education.

Instead, they will start on a salary of €30,702, which is equivalent to the fourth point of the existing scale.

The changes mean new entrants will earn about 20 per cent less than their colleagues who secured permanent jobs as recently as 2010. Two years ago, newly appointed teachers earned more than €39,000 in salary and allowances.

The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) has described the new move as a “vicious and unwarranted attack on the teaching profession”.

However, the teacher unions have been criticised by some young teachers who claim they have been “abandoned” by their older colleagues.

The Government’s move will see the formal establishment of a two-tier teaching profession.

Under the changes, new entrants will also have the option of being paid a pensionable allowance of €1,592 for supervision and substitution which will bring their starting salary to €32,294.

However, to qualify for this supervision and substitution allowance, new entrants will have to provide 12 additional hours a year over and above the existing requirement.

The Gaeltacht and Islands allowances are being abolished in the case of new beneficiaries across the public service, including teachers, as is the teaching through Irish allowance.

Since February of this year, there has been a freeze on the payment of all allowances for new entrant teachers.

In a statement last night, the department linked the cut to the forthcoming recruitment of 3,000 new teachers to help cope with huge growth in the school-going population.

It pointed out that teaching was one of the few areas within the public sector which did not face a moratorium on recruitment and with a growing school-going population, opportunities for employment remained.

The pay of new entrants has been cut three times since 2010.

Last night ASTI general secretary Pat King said cutting the pay of new teachers would damage Ireland’s education service. “What the Government is doing is establishing a two-tiered teaching profession.

“A system which serves to demoralise and demotivate young teachers by giving them inferior terms and conditions will inevitably impact negatively on our young people’s education,” Mr King added.

John Mac Gabhann, general secretary of Teachers Union of Ireland, said the latest cut would have savage consequences for those teachers at the point of entry to the profession, ultimately having enormous consequences in terms of who would be attracted to the profession.

“This savage attack also runs completely counter to the Government’s oft-vaunted commitment to the knowledge society as allowances payable for additional academic attainment by teachers have been slashed in what translates to a retrogressive tax on upskilling.”

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