More teaching posts sought North and South

'Teachers are at the coal face of shaping the Ireland of tomorrow,' INTO's Dep Genl Sec Deirdre O’Connor

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) biennial Conference has supported a call for better resourcing of education on the island of Ireland.

Welcoming an Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) motion passed by Conference yesterday, INTO President Joe Mc Keown said: “The Covid-19 pandemic shone a light on the under-resourcing of primary and early childhood education throughout Ireland, particularly in respect of class sizes and the under-availability of substitute teachers.”

The INTO has consistently said the pandemic has highlighted a range of areas that are under-resourced, and have campaigned vigorously for the retention and development of measures introduced to cope with Covid.

“Supply panels of substitute teachers in the Republic; and improved terms and conditions for substitute teachers in Northern Ireland, must be a top priority into the future,” the INTO’s Northern Chairperson Marie O’Shea said.

The INTO motion also saluted the work of teachers and education staff for keeping the education system going throughout the pandemic, “including the early, rapid adaptation to support remote learning”.

The motion further directs ICTU’s Executive Council to prioritise education resourcing in pre-Budget processes and to encourage cooperation through the mechanisms of the Good Friday Agreement to address challenges faced by the education systems North and South.

The role of schools in building and sustaining diverse and tolerant, inclusive communities throughout the island of Ireland was also recognised.

“Teachers are at the coal face of shaping the Ireland of tomorrow,” INTO Deputy General Secretary Deirdre O’Connor said.

The Monaghan teacher, who was elected to the role last year before taking up the post in 2021, added: “To get the best educational outcomes and improve social cohesion, teacher unions must be included in the development of reforms such as curriculum development, assessment, and responding to the demands of a more digital world.”