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There are very few jobs for members, says teachers' union

By Lindsay Fergus

The future for newly qualified teachers is bleak with hundreds more jobs due to be axed from the education system, unions claimed.

By September, 1,047 teaching jobs will have been lost due to redundancies in three years.

The posts, which have cost £38.9m to axe, have been cut as a result of falling pupil numbers. There are now 18,852 teachers in schools in Northern Ireland.

The five education and library boards have advertised 415 vacancies since June last year.

But there were 707 newly qualified teachers in June 2011 competing for those jobs.

Nuala O’Donnell, from the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, warned that the situation is worse than that as more people would have been applying for those vacancies, many of which would have been temporary posts.

“The major problem is that year-on-year there has been a reduction in jobs. There are very few jobs out there for teachers.

“The more teachers we lose, the potential there is for bigger class sizes and less subject choice for pupils.”

ATL director, Mark Langhammer said that using redundancy to achieve financial efficiencies, if over-used, creates a problem.

“Redundant jobs are just that, redundant,” he said. “The jobs are lost to the system. As a consequence, class sizes will rise and the quality of education will fall.

“Over the summer, ATL and other unions will seek to negotiate with the Department of Education a scheme to refresh and reinvest in the teaching workforce. In addition to a redundancy scheme, we are seeking an efficiency scheme whereby teachers at the top of their scale could volunteer to leave, whilst being replaced by a cadre of newly qualified teachers, such as is done successfully in the Scottish ‘McCrone’ scheme.”

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