Pay for new teachers down 30% since 2010

 

NEW ENTRANTS this week to teaching will earn about 30 per cent less than their colleagues who secured permanent jobs as recently as 2010. Newly-appointed teachers earned more than €39,000 in salary and allowances in 2010, but this has dropped to €27,800 this year.

New teachers have been targeted by the Department of Education as part of a review of the €506 million paid in allowances to teachers last year – but those who were already in the classroom may escape the cuts.

Earlier this year, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn moved to reassure teachers their allowances would not be cut when he acknowledged they were currently considered part of their pay.

Teachers have warned that any cuts to allowances will be regarded as a breach of the Croke Park deal on public service pay.

However new entrants to the profession do not enjoy the protection of Croke Park which guarantees no pay cuts or job losses in return for modernisation measures. As a result, the Government can proceed with the non-payment of these allowances to new entrants.

The three teacher unions will meet this week to “devise an appropriate and comprehensive strategy in response to this hugely damaging attack on the profession”. It is not clear though how they can reverse the cutback.

The unions say the cut will affect schools and teaching by demeaning new teachers and eroding goodwill.

This year, the CAO points requirement for primary teaching at St Patrick’s College , Dublin, was down slightly at 470. Entry to most other teaching courses was unchanged. The sluggish demand for teaching is being attributed to the cuts in starting pay and the difficulties experienced by many teaching graduates in finding work.

The teacher unions say allowances are an integral part of salaries reflecting extra work, additional skills and further qualifications.

A teacher starting work this year will be paid €27,814 if employed full time. In 2010, a similarly qualified teacher would have earned €39,195.

The teacher unions say many new teachers will take home far less than this, because up to 30 per cent of second-level teachers work less than full hours and this percentage will continue to rise in the coming years.

Most new teachers who find employment spend a number of years going from job to job trying to secure a permanent teaching position. More than two-thirds of teachers under 30 are on temporary contracts.

The teacher unions say their opposition to the latest pay cut for new teachers is also related to the damage that will be done in attracting the best young graduates to the profession.

“This pay cut runs counter to the Government’s commitment to building a knowledge society,” said Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the INTO. “Slashing teachers’ salaries will not help schools to recruit and keep the best teachers. In the long term this decision will affect the quality of education for Irish students.”

TUI general secretary John Mac Gabhann said that where once teachers applied for secure jobs, the vast majority of new entrants to the profession were now forced to apply for low numbers of hours with no guarantee of their services being retained for the next school year.

Almost half of the €500 million paid annually in allowances to teachers is for their qualifications. Teachers are paid separately for their degree, postgraduate and doctorate qualifications.

Other allowances include about €200 million a year in management allowances and more than €75 million a year in allowances for supervision duties.

Earlier this year, Mr Quinn pointed out that allowances in education such as for teachers in posts of responsibility, deputy principals and principals were considered part of their pay.

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