Student teachers on teaching placement should be paid for work – ASTI

Teachers’ conference told training period in schools represents ‘free labour’

The conference heard that many student teachers also take on part-time jobs. File photograph: iStock

The conference heard that many student teachers also take on part-time jobs. File photograph: iStock


Student teachers should be paid by the Government for work carried out during their training period in schools, the second-level teaching union, ASTI, has maintained.

Delegate Ciara Kinsella of the Stillorgan branch in Co Dublin said student nurses received a flat-rate payment per year during their final year of their course.

She said the mandatory placement in schools for students undergoing their postgraduate master of education programme represented “free labour”.

The ASTI annual conference on Tuesday backed calls for the union to negotiate payment for teaching work carried out by student teachers during their postgraduate master of education course and to work with the student unions to further this aim.

Ms Kinsella said there was no payment or stipend or financial support for those undertaking teaching placement programmes

She said the “school placement experience” as it was described by the Teaching Council was an integral part of all initial teacher education post-primary training programmes .

However she said experience did not foot the bill and meet the associated costs.

“School placement is a work placement and it is essentially free labour”, she said.

She said student teachers were often asked to carry out the same duties as any other paid teacher.

She said they got zero financial support for travel , accommodation or basic living costs.

Ms Kinsella said that because of the absence of financial supports many student teachers had to take part-time jobs during their placements, mostly in the retail and hospitality sectors.

“It is now more important than ever that student teachers are paid for their work placement. When most part-time work is sourced from retail and hospitality, where are students to find their part-time jobs during this pandemic”

Delegate Stuart Delaney told the conference said the two-year postgraduate master of education course at UCD and Trinity College Dublin cost students over €12,500. He said the same course at Queen’s University in Belfast was of one -year duration and cost just over €5,000.

He said students could not cope with the financial burden placed on them during the postgraduate master of education programme.