Teaching posts still filled by retirees

The Department of Education is investigating why seven primary teachers have had consistent work since they retired in February.

But it also says a review has found that less than 2% of substitution and other work has gone to retired teachers since September.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, in response to a Dáil question from Fianna Fáil education spokesperson Brendan Smith, revealed 67 primary teachers who retired in February have been employed in schools since then.

A further breakdown provided to the Irish Examiner showed:

* 32 retired teachers worked for five days or less since Mar 1;

* nine worked between six and 10 days;

* nine worked 11 to 15 days;

* six worked 16 to 25 days;

nand four worked 26 to 45 days. The 50-plus days worked by seven teachers means they have effectively worked full-time since Mar 1, as there have been 10 school weeks since then after Easter holidays are taken into account.

Strict new rules in place since last May mean schools are supposed to give priority for substitution and other work to unemployed qualified teachers, and should only hire retired teachers after proper efforts to do so are unsuccessful.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the seven cases where retired teachers have worked at least 50 days will be examined. Officials will try to determine why they have been employed for such long periods and to ensure the terms of the new rules are being adhered to.

But a separate Department of Education review has found 12 retired teachers covered short-term appointments at 99 sample schools from September to late February, accounting for less than 2% of some 736 appointments made by those schools.

Retired teachers can only be paid the same rate as a newly-qualified teacher, as an incentive to discourage their employment ahead of those seeking work.

Mr Smith demanded an explanation of how Mr Quinn’s department allowed retired teachers to be hired when almost 8,700 teachers are on the live register and thousands more have had no work since graduating.

“Instead of these unemployed teachers being given the opportunity of work, Minister Quinn’s department have hired retired teachers in receipt of pensions to fill a number of key vacant posts at primary and secondary schools across the country,” he said.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation called for greater clarity about what actions the department took to make sure unemployed teachers got priority.

It said it was not good enough that enquiries about apparent long-term employment of retired teachers were only being made now as on-going monitoring by the department had been promised.

An INTO spokesperson said schools in some parts of the country could only get short-term substitution covered by retired teachers.

The minister’s figures also showed 254 retired second-level teachers were given work under arrangements allowing staff who retired up to the end of February to be rehired, if they had been preparing classes for next month’s Junior and Leaving Certificate exams.


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