Dáil debates

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Opening of Schools and Calculated Grades: Statements

 

10:45 pm

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

The 1,000 teachers is actually 1,080. I will take this opportunity to explain to the Deputy how that will work. Each school will look at their own need. The hours available in each of those teaching posts will be 22 hours. Management will decide what is needed within the school, for example, an additional eight hours being needed for French and ten hours for physics or whatever the case may be. It will not necessarily mean that a single person will be in the school. The hours will be divided to meet the needs of the school at any given time. I have confidence that every principal will make the best judgment as regards the best use of those 22 hours. In some instances, it may be a single person but I expect from my own experience it will be a number of people who will cover the needs required within the school.

Regarding the sourcing of the teachers, I have every confidence. Many of them, in my experience, are already in the school system. We have 1,300 job sharers, and for the first time we are raising the bar on the number of hours job sharers can work. They can extend their time. Equally, we have a number of part-timers already working in schools and their hours can be increased. We have more than 2,000 currently registered with the Teaching Council who are not currently working. Many of the schools already know who their substitutes are. They will have identified them. I have every confidence they can do it and this is a great boon and a great addition to the second level schools to have posts of that nature coming on stream.

On guidance counsellors, the 120 figure restores the numbers to pre-2011 numbers and is a full restoration of guidance counselling hours. That is hugely positive because it is all tied up with the very strong resources we are putting into well-being within schools for our young people. Very substantial resources are also being put in place for the entire school community. That is also a very positive move and I know it is something the Deputy is particularly interested in.

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