Addressing the teacher shortage


Sir, – The figures on teacher shortages in schools and the “sharp rise in retired teachers substituting” (Home News, August 13th) cannot come as a surprise to the Department of Education and Skills or the INTO.

In 2006 the department published Guidelines for Probationary Teachers which, among other things, outlined the benefits for newly qualified teachers of completing their probation in their first year.

The list included: eligibility to apply for career breaks, job sharing and the teacher exchange scheme. All these “benefits” depleted the number of qualified teachers available to schools.

As a schools’ inspector at that time, I was amazed at the number of newly qualified teachers who, in their first year of teaching, were planning career breaks once their probation was complete. Surely, having funded much of the students’ training, the department could insist that newly qualified teachers spend at least five years in the profession before qualifying to take a break from it?

One would have thought that taking a career break would imply that some time had been spent in that career! – Yours, etc,


Dunsany, Co Meath.