Plans to suspend teachers’ career breaks show Government is grasping at straws, says Gannon

Gary Ibbotson 07 Dec 2022

Plans to cancel career breaks for teachers, in response to the recruitment crisis, show the government are out of ideas and grasping at straws, according to Social Democrats Education Spokesperson Gary Gannon TD.

Deputy Gannon was speaking in advance of a Social Democrats’ motion which will be debated in the Dáil today.

“It was reported today that Education Minister Norma Foley is considering cancelling career breaks for teachers in response to the recruitment crisis in schools,” Deputy Gannon said.

“This is misguided and would do little to resolve the problem given it won’t do anything to increase the number of teachers in schools now.

“The government appear to be panicking in advance of our motion, which has set out a number of positive steps the government could take to address this crisis, and are now grasping at straws.

“Career breaks are only sanctioned where positions can be filled and the reality is that many of those who apply for a career break do so because they have caring duties in the home.

“It should also be noted that some TDs, who were teachers before their election to the Dáil, are currently on career breaks.”

Deputy Ganno says that it would “make more sense” for the government “to suspend the secondment of teachers to bodies like the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and the Inspectorate.

“This would free up teachers to return to classrooms immediately,” he says.

“Crucially, the government must also tackle the underlying housing and cost of living crises which are exacerbating this crisis.”

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