Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Union urges more teaching positions

Education Minister John O'Dowd hopes the 12 million pound initiative will help drive up standards

More permanent new teaching positions need to be created in Northern Ireland to boost standards across the curriculum, a union said.

Around 230 recently qualified teachers are to be employed for two years under a £12 million initiative by the Stormont Executive.

But the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (Into) called for more long-term planning.

Senior official Tony Carlin said: "Into feels that if the benefit of this initiative is not to be lost then all parties must look to a mechanism for refreshing the teaching workforce and in doing so we must move to a position where we facilitate the release of older teachers across the disciplines but backfill these posts with recently qualified teaching graduates on a permanent basis.

"If our education system is to be a driver of the economy then we must plan long-term and move away from short-term initiatives."

The creation of the posts by education minister John O'Dowd is aimed at raising education standards and giving jobs to new graduates in Northern Ireland. Only 5% of those who graduated last year secured permanent teaching posts.

The jobs will help raise literacy and numeracy standards in schools in deprived areas. They are only available to teachers who have graduated since 2010 and all applicants must be registered with the General Teaching Council in Northern Ireland.

Mr Carlin said: "It will bring hope to those individuals about to graduate or those recently out of college that they may be able through this initiative to secure employment as a teacher for the next two years."

President of the National Union of Students Adrianne Pelz said it was a positive scheme. "The economic downturn has hit new graduates very hard and it is important that government finds ways of utilising their skills to their potential," she said.

Over the five years from 2006-2010 the unemployment rate more than doubled from 4% to 9% among Northern Ireland full-time higher education leavers.

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