Secondary schools lose two full-time teachers since 2009, survey finds

Asti says report shows Leaving Cert subjects such as physics dropped due to cuts

Asti general secretary Pat King (right) and other union leaders leaving Croke Park II pay talks in January of this year. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Secondary schools have lost an average of two full-time teachers since 2009 despite rising student enrolments, according to a Millward Brown survey launched by the Asti union today.

Two out of five post-primary schools in the survey reported dropping one or more Leaving Cert subjects as a result of losing subject teachers, due to cuts. The top four subjects to be dropped by schools were accounting, physics, economics and chemistry.

Forty per cent of schools in the survey have lost learning support and resource teaching hours in the same period.

Commenting on the survey, Asti general secretary Pat King said: "At a time when schools should be gaining teachers to accommodate the rising number of students entering second-level education, Irish schools are actually losing teachers.


“The Government should be very concerned that subjects that are vital to our economic recovery are dropping off school timetables as a result.”

Almost a third of principals and 60 per cent of deputy principals are teaching classes - in addition to undertaking their management duties - as a direct result of reduced teacher numbers.

The survey also looked at the impact of the education cuts on students, particularly the loss of full-time guidance counsellors. Seven in 10 schools surveyed have reduced the provision of one-to-one guidance counselling for students.

According to the survey, almost half of second-level schools reported "little or no capacity" to prepare and plan for Junior Cycle reform, which is due to be implemented next year.

“Second-level schools are reeling from the impact of the cutbacks and are overwhelmed by the amount of recent and current reform initiatives,” Mr King said.

Louise Holden

Louise Holden

Louise Holden is a contributor to The Irish Times focusing on education