New ASTI President said the Government must commit to equal pay for post-2010 entrants to teaching if it is to recruit additional second-level teachers.
The Government’s Response Plan for Safe Re-opening of Schools includes the appointment of 1,080 extra second-level teachers, in order to assist schools in implementing social distancing measures and to bolster student wellbeing services.
“More than ever, students need their teachers,” said Ann Piggott, the new President of ASTI.
“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of students’ interaction with their teachers. We require adequate numbers of teachers in schools to allow for social distancing in line with medical advice and to ensure teacher absences are covered. Only in this way can students be assured of equal access to a safe and quality education.
“Ireland has experienced a serious shortage of second-level teachers in recent years. The main reasons for this are the high levels of precarious teaching contracts, and pay inequality for those who began their careers after 2010. A significant number of teachers have been subjected to pay discrimination for up to a decade,” Ms Piggott said.
She has called on the new Minister for Education Norma Foley TD to take the necessary steps to ensure that recently qualified second-level teachers are encouraged to teach and to take up positions in Irish schools for the coming school year.
“Steps must include a commitment to implementing equal pay for equal work for post-2010 teachers.
“There must also be an emphasis on offering secure teaching contracts with full time hours.
“Finally, new arrangements must be implemented so that all teachers will have their appropriate teaching experience abroad recognised in Ireland.”
Equality for Students
Ms Piggott advocates that the 2020/21 school year will focus on equality for students and on maintaining the safety and wellbeing of students and their teachers.
“There is no doubt that schools and teachers face enormous challenges in the months ahead. Despite infrastructural differences, school managements face an immense task of reconfiguring school buildings and timetables to ensure maximum protection of all staff and pupils within a brief time frame. Students and their teachers need to know that their health and safety are the priority as we navigate our way through the 2020/21 school year.”
Ann Piggott has served as ASTI Vice President from 2019 to August 2020 and previously served in a number of national and regional roles. She has a keen interest in human rights education and is currently a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Global Solidarity Committee. A teacher of Maths and English at Kenmare Community School, she is a member of the Cork South Branch of the ASTI.
The Association of Secondary Teachers, Ireland (ASTI) represents 17,500 second-level teachers in schools all over the country.
SOURCE: Materials provided by ASTI
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