Belfast Telegraph

Unqualified school staff fears rise

School teachers will refuse to work with unqualified staff in the classroom as concerns soar over thousands of trained teachers out of work.

The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) and the Association of Secondary Teachers' of Ireland (Asti) vowed to enforce the dramatic veto at their conferences.

Sheila Nunan, INTO general secretary, warned children would be stopped from going to classes staffed by unqualified teachers.

"We simply have to get the message across," she said. "We will not allow children going into a class of an unqualified person and redistribute the children around the rest of the school."

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn suggested a new panel could be created for all out-of-work teachers to help secure jobs for the best candidates.

The INTO, which voted to direct primary teachers not to work alongside unqualified staff from next September, claimed 400 unqualified teachers were employed in schools for at least 50 days last year. It estimates another 2,000 trained teachers will be out of work in September after 700 posts were cut from primary education in the budget.

Asti also voted to condemn Teaching Council rules which allow unregistered persons to be employed as teachers.

"An amendment to Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act, shortly to be enacted, will allow unqualified personnel who are not registered with the Teaching Council to work in schools in a teaching capacity," Asti president Jack Keane said. "This is despite the fact that hundreds of qualified teachers are looking for work every day."

But just as Mr Quinn informed national school teachers at their annual conference, the minister told Asti delegates he could not pretend previous Government decisions could be reversed or that further difficult measures can be avoided.

"I know that your concern about maintaining services is not just one of self interest, but that you also have the interest of pupils at heart when you react to reductions in resources," he said. "The Government is equally concerned about the future for the children in schools but we know that we can only secure the future and sustain frontline services if we can regain our sovereignty."

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