Teachers and recruitment crisis

Joining the dots

Sir, – To address the current shortage of teachers, perhaps Minister for Education Norma Foley could lead by example and return to her teaching position? It might also be worth considering the redeployment of inspectors currently critiquing those teachers in the classroom to return to the classroom themselves. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.


Sir, – A proactive measure to help with the current shortage of teachers might be an outright ban on teachers becoming public representatives. Might this not have the positive impact of increasing the supply of teachers while improving the quality of our public representation and decision making? – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Sir, – It is, I think, a truth universally acknowledged that we have a serious shortage of teachers. Carl O’Brien reports (News, December 7th) that a teacher can take a career break for a year or more which can be extended for up to five years at any one time and up to 10 years in the course of a teacher’s career.

About 2,375 teachers are on a career break and teaching unions say many of them have been recruited to teach overseas.

Let me be sure that I have this right. We educate and train teachers at the expense of the Irish taxpayer. When they tire of teaching here they can take leave of absence for up to one-quarter of a typical working life and recharge their batteries by teaching overseas. And that is a risk-free bet because some unfortunate substitute who is on inferior employment terms is keeping the position open for the emigrant when he or she decides it is time to return.

It would appear that this is an even greater little country than I had become accustomed to think. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 6.

Sir, – My wife and I availed of the opportunity to take a career break from our teaching jobs in 1992 and like many others before and since, we did so in the knowledge that we would never be able to afford to buy a house in Dublin without the prospect of working abroad for a period of time.

It was not a desire to see mysterious and exotic places nor set down roots abroad that drew us away but the then dreadfully low rate of pay and the unaffordable cost of home ownership.

Sadly, 30 years later, the unaffordability of accommodation still exists in Dublin. It is still the reason that many seek career breaks.

If Norma Foley thinks that the withdrawal of this career-break facility will curb the flow of those travelling abroad, I feel she may be in for a shock.

Positive facilitative measures, particularly in Dublin, must be examined so that the shortage of teachers in city schools is addressed.

Measures such as a Dublin allowance might even draw some to the capital. Brent used the London loading as an incentive to entice Irish teachers to London in years gone by.

Making fourth-year teaching students available to schools for all of their fourth year may also be a measure worth pursuing. The availability of these students was the sole method of keeping schools open during the pandemic.

The Minister would do well to talk to school leaders and find out what their views are before flying kites regarding negative and draconian measures. – Yours, etc,


Retired Primary Principal,

Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Sensible and brave political decisions are required to bring about real and substantive change and improvement in teacher supply.

This involves tackling the issues of the cost of living, accommodation prices, more secure contracts and promotional opportunities, a reduction in red tape and restructuring of the current models of teacher training.

It’s also worth noting that the OECD report Education at a Glance 2022 once again ranked Ireland in last place out of 36 countries for investment in second-level education as a percentage of GDP. Ireland already has a higher ratio of students to teaching staff at secondary level than the European average, higher compulsory instruction time per student per year as well as significantly higher number of hours teaching time per year per teacher.

Perhaps the Minister should stop tinkering around the edges of the issues but instead start joining the dots. – Yours, etc,



Ardscoil Rís,

Dublin 9.

Sir, – We will begin today’s lesson with a simple question.

What is the difference between the previous higher diploma in education and the current professional master’s in education teacher training models?

A year of your life and between €5,000 to €7000 of your hard earned. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – The phrase “an Irish solution to an Irish problem” comes to mind when discussing teachers and the Government’s attempt to curtail their rights. – Is mise,



Dublin 22.