Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Time to review substitute teachers' pay

With the cost of substitute teachers soaring to more than £66m (that's £139-a-day or just over £23-an-hour) calls are being made for an urgent review of substitute teachers' procedures (News, May 26).

Most substitute teachers are retired and already receive generous redundancy packages. Is it right retired teachers are allowed to return to the classroom and swallow up the majority of sub-teacher vacancies, leaving passionate newly qualified teachers struggling to find a job?

Why do headteachers so readily give preference to these 'old hands'? Could it be a case of jobs for the boys? Teacher sick-leave needs attention, too. If a teacher claims illness, they can remain off on full pay for six months. This then drops to half-pay. However, any teacher who wants to play the system can return to school, pick a row with another member of staff and then disappear again, claiming further illness - on full pay for another six months.

Many senior staff seem to use any excuse to be out of school. These teachers are always on a special 'training day'. Most of these 'jolly days out' need to be covered by sub teachers. The majority of courses could be dropped.

T J McCLEAN

Belfast

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