Seven primary school principals on administrative leave
Eleven teachers also on leave with full pay while investigations are carried out
Department of Education figures show that 10 primary school teachers (four of those principals) and two post-primary teachers went out on administrative leave last year. Photograph: Stephen Shepherd/Getty Images
Seven primary school principals and 11 teachers are on administrative leave with full pay while investigations are carried out, the Department of Education has said.
The department said administrative leave may only be granted “in limited situations where the continued presence of a teacher has the potential to present ongoing risk, such as situations concerning child protection, serious misconduct or fraud”.
Circumstances giving rise to the placing of a teacher on administrative leave “may or may not warrant investigation into financial or similar matters”, a department spokesman said, adding that “depending on the complexities of the issues involved” cases are generally concluded within timeframe of one to two years.
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said that in a small number of cases, delays in investigations or in the judicial process have to led to “unacceptably long timeframes” and such delays “placed intolerable stress on teachers in these circumstances”.
Fianna Fáil education spokesman Thomas Byrne TD said investigations must be “done as quickly and as fairly as possible”.
“I think if investigations were dealt with more quickly, that this system would be fairer for everybody,” he said. “People either need to be removed or their good name restored.”
Figures released by the department show that 10 primary school teachers (four of those principals) and two post-primary teachers went out on administrative leave last year.
Three primary school teachers, which included one principal and three post-primary teachers, went on administrative leave in 2015 while four primary school teachers, which included one principal, went out in 2014.
The INTO described the number of primary school teachers on administrative leave as “low” while adding all investigations against teachers had to be completed “thoroughly”.
“They are entitled to fair procedures and due process including an opportunity to respond to allegations, to challenge evidence and call witnesses,” a spokesman said. “Occasionally investigations need to be carried out by gardaí or Tusla. These investigations take time and on occasions, until these are completed, schools are not in a position to lift administrative leave.”
The figures are compiled from payrolls operated by the department and therefore exclude teachers employed in Education and Training Boards.