More needs to be done to tackle teacher retention crisis says AndrewsMike Finnerty 13 Feb 2024
Fianna Fáil MEP for Dublin Barry Andrews has said that more needs to be done to resolve the teacher retention crisis in Dublin.
Andrews discussed the issue during a session in Strasbourg entitled ‘Working Conditions for Teachers in the European Union’.
“As a former teacher, I can personally attest to the challenging, yet rewarding, nature of the profession. Since I was a teacher, a new set of challenges have emerged that have significantly impacted teachers, pupils and schools.”
Andrews stated, “the rising cost of living, the housing crisis and long commutes have caused a teacher retention crisis in Dublin. We are seeing an exodus of teachers from the capital. Teachers are either relocating to schools closer to their homes, or accepting offers abroad from Middle Eastern countries offering compensation packages that EU countries struggle to match. Consequently, Dublin is facing the issue of teacher retention.”
A recent survey from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation revealed there has been a significant shortfall of 809 permanent, fixed-term, and long-term substitute teachers across Ireland, with 63% of these vacancies concentrated in the greater Dublin area, while another survey from the ASTI showing that 75% of schools surveyed received no applications for teaching posts as advertised.
The survey further stated that the crisis disproportionately affects the most vulnerable; 28% of all schools surveyed reported long-term vacancies, this figure surged to 50% in DEIS Band One schools and Gaelscoileanna, and 43% in special schools.
“As a result, schools are compelled to redistribute resources, leading to situations where special education teachers are diverted to cover mainstream classes instead of catering to children with additional needs. Ultimately, it’s the students with the greatest needs who bear the brunt of these repercussions.”
Andrews said “there are also similar concerns in other EU countries, therefore it is imperative that we prioritise comprehensive, long-term teacher supply planning to avert systemic disruptions in the education sector.”
“I encourage the Irish government to engage the Irish government to engage with unions on disputes over incremental payments for teachers returning from abroad. Furthermore, I urge the Commissioner for education, sport, youth and culture, Mariya Gabriel, to outline measures to stem the outflow of talent and resolve this retention crisis.”