Department of Education announces 1,200 new teaching jobs to deal with staff shortages 10 months ago

Department of Education announces 1,200 new teaching jobs to deal with staff shortages

There is an increasing demand for teachers in secondary schools.

The Department of Education have announced plans to introduce measures to tackle the lack of qualified second-level teachers in Ireland, with a number of secondary schools having a problem finding teachers for subjects like Irish, French, Spanish, physics and chemistry.

According to the The Department of Education, in 2018, it is estimated that approximately 3,300 primary and post primary teachers will graduate. A similar number are also due to graduate in 2019.

The CAO also confirmed recently that the number of CAO applications for primary teaching are up 8%, while the number of CAO applications for post primary teaching are up 7%

The issues that second-level schools face with regard to a lack of qualified teachers are set to accentuate, however, with enrolments at second level projected to rise until 2024.

Indeed, it is anticipated that the amount of students in secondary education could rise to 400,000 pupils for the first time in 2024, according to the Irish Times.

In contrast, pupil numbers at primary level are projected to fall, potentially leaving hundreds of teachers without a job.

In a statement to JOE on Monday, a spokesperson for The Department of Education revealed that an additional 1,200 teachers would be recruited for September 2018 and announced that the following measures would be taken in an attempt to address the teacher supply issues:

  • Universities have increased the capacity on undergraduate initial teacher education programmes by an estimated 280 places for September 2018.
  • This includes an increase in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and foreign languages of more than 100 places, an increase of over 40% on 2017 in these areas
  • At postgraduate level, the Universities have increased the capacity on PME programmes by more than 100 places in the priority areas of STEM, Irish and foreign languages.
  • Lifting the restrictions for those teachers currently on career break , in order to deal with short-term substitution problems
  • Emphasising to schools that under the career break scheme, a career break can only be granted where the school will be in a position to fill the vacancies
  •  The Minister has also established a Teacher Supply Steering Group chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Education and including the HEA, Teaching Council, nominees of the higher education sector and the school management bodies. The Steering Group will lead on the identification of the issues, the development of a programme of actions on teacher supply in addition to the ones already being taken, and oversee its implementation. A number of working groups are reporting and making recommendations to the steering group in specific areas and the groups have met on a number of occasions in recent months.

The Department of Education did not comment on claims that primary school teachers may be asked to fulfil secondary school teaching roles as a result of the shortage in qualified staff.