Schools hit back at inspectors

THE anger of schools about Government failure to deal with a shortage of trained teachers and proper buildings are highlighted in reports published by the Department of Education yesterday.

The reports of department inspectors about almost 200 schools and education centres, some specific to teaching of certain subjects, were published on its website.

Since these reports were first published in 2006, schools have been allowed to have their own response to the inspectors’ findings included. A Wexford primary school highlighted the shortage of qualified substitute teachers. Responding to the report of an inspection last September, the board of Scoil Náisiúnta Bhantiarna Lourdes in Bunclody said it included an evaluation of work of unqualified substitutes who started working there three weeks earlier.

“The board was forced to employ [them] at short notice because of a lack of qualified substitute teachers,” it wrote.

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation general secretary John Carr said schools are right to highlight difficulties caused by underfunding.

“The Government can’t continue to rely on parents and teachers to make up the shortfall in school finances. Inspectors should also be aware of how badly schools are funded and stop making utopian recommendations that take no account of funding realities,” he said.

St Thomas’ Junior NS in Lucan, Co Dublin, expressed concerns about the legislative and administrative burden placed on the board as a voluntary body.

“We expect the department take an active role in developing relevant guidelines and supports for future governance of primary schools,” it said.


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