A significant majority of recently qualified second-level teachers do not believe they would get mortgage approval for a home near their school.
The finding is included in a new survey by the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI) released as its annual convention gets under way in Wexford. The country's three teachers' unions — the Irish National Teachers' Organisation, the Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland, and the TUI — are each holding their annual congresses this week, in person for the first time since 2019.
The survey, which includes input from more than 1,200 TUI members, asked teachers about pay, recruitment, Covid-19, and workloads. Of the teachers appointed after 2011, 73% said they do not believe it would be possible for them to get mortgage approval for a property near the location where they work.
Among renters of the same cohort, 98% said it would be either extremely difficult or difficult to secure new accommodation in the locality if they had to vacate their current arrangements. Almost two-thirds of the surveyed teachers did not get a contract of full hours upon their initial appointment. According to the TUI, this meant they earned a fraction of a full salary for several years.
“To make the profession attractive, we must return to a situation where teachers are appointed to permanent contracts of full hours from the commencement of their careers,” said Martin Marjoram, TUI president.
According to the union, further resourcing is required to help students who lost out due to Covid-19. Almost 90% of the teachers surveyed said they believed additional support was required into the next school year to assist students who lost out most from the disruption the pandemic caused to teaching and learning.
A further 84% believed emergency remote teaching and learning had a disproportionately negative effect on students from disadvantaged backgrounds, while 84% also believe some students were unable to engage because they didn't have access to appropriate electronic devices.
Bureaucratic responsibilities were also noted as an issue, with 66% strongly agreeing that these tasks deflect from core teaching duties.
“Pay discrimination” for teachers employed since 2011 has led to a teacher recruitment and retention crisis in our schools, according to Mr Marjoram.
“The survey findings show that while just 30% of those employed after 2011 believe at the moment that they will still be in the profession in 10 years’ time, that percentage changes to 75% should pay discrimination be completely resolved."
Under Building Momentum, all second-level TUI members are due to forgo a 1% pay increase so that the equivalent value would be used to reinstate the Professional Masters in Education (PME) allowance to those appointed since 2012.
“So effectively the money to end the scandal of pay discrimination has been donated by teachers themselves but is currently resting in exchequer accounts while we wait for resolution."