Survey finds schools will have lost five middle management teaching posts


TEACHERS' UNION OF IRELAND:SCHOOLS WILL have lost an average of five middle management teaching posts by the start of the next academic year, a survey carried out on behalf of the Teachers’ Union of Ireland has found.

The survey, carried out among 283 union members last month, found that the cutbacks that began in 2008 have had a huge impact on schools, particularly those in disadvantaged areas and those catering for marginalised students.

According to the study, carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes, schools have lost an average of more than four posts of responsibility as a result of cutbacks, with an expectation of a further loss of an average of 1.2 posts this year.

Union president Bernie Ruane said the survey showed that cutbacks, particularly those resulting in the loss of posts of responsibility such as year heads, had severely damaged the support framework that was so important for marginalised schools. “This is making it increasingly difficult to intervene early and effectively when students are experiencing difficulties, a problem that will be greatly worsened when cuts to guidance counselling provision become effective in September.”

Of the 141 schools, colleges and centres in which staff were surveyed, 61 per cent reported a loss of teachers based on the pupil-teacher ratio between 2008 and 2011. Of these, 47 per cent reported a loss of two or fewer teachers, while 53 per cent reported a loss of more than two.

Some 20 schools and colleges reported the loss of learning support/resource, Traveller resource and language support posts between 2008 and 2011, with most losing up to one such post.

The survey also found that 62 per cent of schools reported an increased workload for staff, with 33 per cent of respondents estimating workload had increased by more than seven hours over and above the additional commitments of the Croke Park agreement.

Ms Ruane said the survey also found that teachers were noticing that reduced family income due to the recession and Government cutbacks was having an adverse impact on the capacity of students to participate in school life.

“Worryingly, a majority, 59 per cent, of teachers who responded to the survey have noted the significant impact that a reduction in family incomes has had on the ability of students to purchase textbooks and specialist materials for schools.”