The Government must commit to equal pay for post 2010 entrants to teaching if it is serious about recruiting and retaining 1,080 additional second-level teachers as outlined in the Response Plan for Safe Re-opening of Schools, the new ASTI President Ann Piggott has stated.
The Government plan to re-open schools in the coming weeks 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.
“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.”
“More than ever, students need their teachers. 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,” said Ann Piggott.
The ASTI President has called on the new Minister for Education Norma Foley TD to take the necessary steps to ensure 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 can have appropriate teaching experience abroad recognised in Ireland.”
The ASTI President said the 2020/21 school year must 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 is the priority as we navigate our way through the 2020/21 school year.”
Ann Piggott is a teacher of maths and English at Kenmare Community School and a member of the Cork South Branch of the ASTI. She served as ASTI Vice President from 2019 to August 2020 and previously served in a number of national and regional roles. Ann Piggott has a keen interest in human rights education and is currently a member of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) Global Solidarity Committee.
The ASTI represents 17,500 second-level teachers in schools all over the country.