25 February, 2019 - Minister McHugh announces new Teacher Sharing Scheme for post-primary schools and urges Principals to sign up

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Monday 25 February) announced a new scheme to allow post-primary schools to share teachers in priority subjects.

The scheme will start from the beginning of the 2019/20 school year and will be reviewed after the first year of operation.

Minister McHugh said: “The aim of this scheme is to alleviate some of the challenges schools have faced in recruiting teachers. This new approach to filling posts is a solution for principals who are seeking teachers and graduates who are looking for full-time employment and more options for work.”

The teacher sharing initiative is one of a range of actions contained in the Action Plan for Teacher Supply, published by the Minister in November 2018.

The development and implementation of the Action Plan is led by the Teacher Supply Steering Group, chaired by the Secretary General of the Department Seán Ó Foghlú, in recognition of the significant recruitment challenges some schools have experienced.

The aim of this initiative is to provide more options to ease recruitment pressures in some specific subject areas such as STEM, modern languages, Irish and home economics.

Minister McHugh said: “Addressing the current and future challenges in teacher supply is a national priority.  Principals and the boards of management in schools should seize this opportunity to work with a neighbouring school by sharing a teacher in a specialist subject.

With all the progress in our post-primary education system, the growing number of young people in post-primary and new initiatives like Leaving Cert PE and computer science, we need to focus on new ways of working.

I urge schools to see this as an opportunity and begin the groundwork to make the most of this new scheme.”

The teacher sharing scheme will allow two schools to work together to recruit a teacher for a job and employ them on more hours than if they were teaching in just one school.

It will optimise the use of teaching time. It will allow a teacher to teach as many hours as possible in a high-demand subject.

The Minister added: “It is a good option for the schools and for the teacher.  I am confident that it will make a difference and help to ease the difficulties that some schools have experienced in sourcing teachers of high-priority subjects. School management bodies and teacher unions have shown great commitment and cooperation in agreeing innovative solutions such as the scheme being announced here today.

Teacher supply is a complex challenge but we will only succeed in addressing the challenges if we continue to work together and seek to identify and implement flexible and innovative approaches to ensure that we meet the future needs of our schools, our teachers and our children.”

 

Notes for Editors

 

(a) Review of Scheme

The Scheme will be reviewed after its first year of operation to determine the level of take-up by schools and to consider any amendments to the terms of the scheme.

 

(b) Steering Group on Teacher Supply

The Steering Group on Teacher Supply is leading on a programme of actions to address concerns about the supply of teachers.  The Steering Group is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department. The Group held its first meeting on 26 March 2018.

(c) Teacher Supply Structures

The Steering Group leads on the identification of issues, the development of a programme of actions on teacher supply and oversees its implementation. 

An Implementation Group supports the work of the Steering Group.

The Group is also supported in its work by a number of working groups which consider and report on particular issues. The working groups report to the Implementation Group.

(d) Teacher Supply Action Plan

The Action plan contains a range of priority actions identified through the work of the Steering Group and engagement with stakeholders.   These actions are classified under four broad headings:

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Promotion of the teaching profession
  • Higher education policy
  • Policies and arrangements for schools and teachers that impact on teacher supply and demand

 

Actions include:

  • Agreement with HEIs for additional 4-year undergraduate post primary initial teacher education programmes for 2019/20 and 2020/19, including in targeted subjects.
  • Additional funding of €1m for the Student Assistance Fund for Professional Master of Education students for 2018/19.
  • Teaching Council has commenced a review of the implementation of student teacher school placement guidelines.
  • A stakeholder consultative forum and 5 regional focus groups for teachers, principals and parents have been held.
  • “Teaching Transforms” campaign (digital, radio and video) launched to promote the teaching profession, supported by a new dedicated webpage.
  • Future development of a portal for teacher recruitment.

 

A copy of the Teacher Supply Action Plan is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/teacher-supply-action-plan.pdf