Recruiting and retaining teachers

 

Sir, – As with previous sticking-plaster measures, the proposal to introduce quotas on certain teacher training areas seeks to tackle the symptoms rather than curing the disease of the current crisis of recruitment and retention (News, September 4th).

While it and other measures may merit consideration, its effects will not be apparent for several years.

Even allowing for an element of flux at the start of any academic year, we are consistently hearing that schools are struggling to fill teaching vacancies across a range of subjects. Schools are innovative and will do everything they can to provide the full range of subjects, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so.

In many instances, spiralling accommodation costs in urban areas are resulting in teachers choosing to seek opportunities in other parts of the country. However, this is only one factor, as we have also had reports from rural areas that similar recruitment issues are arising there.

What is of even greater concern is that those who might once have considered teaching or have qualified as teachers are simply choosing to work in other professions.

Urgent action is required – the scandal of discriminatory pay must end now.

With student numbers at second level set to rise by 40,000 over the next six years, the integrity and attractiveness of the teaching profession must be restored.

Once again, we would question the Department of Education’s commitment to resolving this crisis when teachers are not even represented on its steering group. – Yours, etc,

SEAMUS LAHART,

President,

Teachers Union

of Ireland (TUI),

Orwell Road,

Rathgar,

Dublin 6.