Your questions answered

Find the answers to some frequently asked questions from student teachers and teachers beginning their careers.

Career queries

How can I get a permanent job?

Some permanent jobs are filled through direct recruitment - this is largely the case in newly established schools. However, the most common route to permanency for second-level teachers is to work in a school on a fixed-term basis and eventually qualify for a Contract of Indefinite Duration (CID), which entitles you to all the terms and conditions of a permanent teaching job, but may be for less than full hours.

In order to qualify for a CID you must:

  • be registered with the Teaching Council;
  • hold appropriate qualifications;
  • Have in excess of four years continuous teaching service, under two or more successive written contracts of employment with the same employer that were paid for by monies provided by the Oireachtas.

Teachers who meet the above criteria will be entitled to a CID unless:

  • their post will not be viable within a reasonable period, and this was set out as an objective ground in writing in the previous contract;
  • they are covering for a teacher on an approved scheme of leave of absence and this was set out as an objective ground in writing in the previous contract.

Is there any scope for promotion within the school?

Aside from principal and deputy principal posts, teachers can be promoted to hold special duties posts or assistant principal posts. These are known as posts of responsibility.

Unfortunately, due to the current moratorium on posts of responsibility, all special duties posts and some assistant principal posts are not currently being filled.

Salary queries

How do changes to teachers' salary scales over the last number of years affect me?

Three pay scales now operate for second-level teachers. Different scales and rates operate for teachers who started

Teachers first appointed to Department paid positions after February 1, 2012 and are not entitled to qualification allowances.

Will I be paid over the summer months?

This depends on the type of contract you hold. Permanent and CID teachers are paid for the full year. A teacher who is employed for the full school year to provide teaching for a specified number of hours during each week holds a pro-rata contract. This contract covers the period until August 31. If you hold this kind of contract, you will be paid each fortnight over the summer, as you would be during school term.

A teacher who is employed to work for more than 150 hours during the school year, but less than a full school year, is classified as a non-casual part-time teacher. If, for example, you are covering for a teacher on maternity leave, you will be paid an hourly rate based on your point on the salary scale and qualification allowances. You will not be paid over the summer. However, the rate of pay you received while working includes 56% holiday pay.

A teacher who is not employed on either of these contracts is classed as a casual part-time teacher. Any such part-time teacher is paid at a fixed hourly rate inclusive of holiday pay of 22%.

Can I claim social welfare for the summer months?

You can claim social welfare for periods when you are unemployed but your payments may be deferred or delayed because of the percentage of holiday pay you received while working. Even if the amount of holiday pay received means that your social welfare payment will be nil, it is advisable to claim benefit regardless in order to maintain your PRSI credits over the summer months. See www.welfare.ie for more information.

Does non-permanent / part-time work count towards advancing on the salary scale?

Pro-rata contracted teachers can claim incremental credit for each year worked on a pro-rata contract.

Non-casual contracted teachers can claim an increment if they work 600 hours in one year.

To claim incremental credit, casual teachers must reach a threshold of 300 hours in any year. They will receive an increment for each 600 hours worked.

Workplace queries

What do I do if I need time off during the school year?

There is no provision for a teacher to take leave other than what is set down during periods where schools are closed so in general you should try to make sure you don’t need to take leave during the school year.

Unpaid leave may be granted in exceptional circumstances, at the discretion of the principal. So you could apply to your principal in the case of something like an immediate family wedding or similar. Substitution will be provided by the Department for unpaid leave.

You have the option to apply for up to five personal leave days in the school year, which are granted at the discretion of the principal. There is no substitution provided and you would have to ask your colleagues to cover on a voluntary basis.

Bereavement/compassionate leave may be granted on the death of a family member and substitution will be provided in such cases. Teachers are entitled to marriage leave but there is no substitution provided so again you would have to ask colleagues to cover for you.

Force Majeure Leave, limited to a maximum of three days in each period of 12 months or five days in 36 months, covers situations where, for urgent family illness reasons, your immediate presence is indispensably required at the place where the family member is. If you need to take Force Majeure leave you should phone your principal as soon as possible to let him/her know and confirm the leave when you return.

More on teachers' leave

How many parent teacher meetings will I have outside of school time?

At least three formal parent-teacher meetings are held outside of normal school hours per year. These meetings commence at 4.15, after each school has closed 15 minutes before normal time. The meetings conclude at 6.45 but parents who were waiting at 6.45 p.m. will be seen, if this can reasonably be done. 

Schools can also choose to allocate some of the 33 additional hours outside of school time required under the Croke Park Agreement to additional parent-teacher meetings.

Are staff meetings held outside school time?

Schools hold at least one formal staff meeting that includes time outside of the school day each term. These meetings are arranged so that an equal amount of time is taken from the school day as from the time after the school day. So a staff meeting of two hours duration will take place one hour preceding and one hour following normal school closing time. 

Schools can also choose to allocate some of the additional hours required under the Croke Park Agreement for staff meetings outside of school time.

What is involved in school inspections?

School inspections are carried out by the Inspectorate division of the Department of Education and Skills who perform subject inspections, Whole School Evaluations and incidental inspections.

Subject Inspections evaluate the school’s provision of a particular curricular area. Schools are given two week’s notice of subject inspections. It is expected that you should be able to provide a broad written plan of your work on a termly and yearly basis. However, it is not necessary that teachers prepare individual written lesson plans for the purpose of subject inspection. The subject inspection will likely include classroom observation, interaction with students and discussion with teachers. A core principle guiding the Inspector’s report is that the report issued as a result of subject inspection will not make reference to the work of individual teachers.

Incidental inspections are short one-day inspections conducted by one inspector and focusing on aspects of teaching, learning, student achievement and support for students in a school. Schools are selected for incidental inspection as part of the process of inspection planning managed by region. No advance notice is provided to schools that an incidental inspections to be carried out.

The Whole School Evaluation (WSE) process evaluates schools under the headings of management, planning, curriculum provision, learning and teaching, and support for students. During school and classroom visits the inspectors observe teaching and learning, interact with pupils, engage in discussion with teachers, and examine planning documents. Students’ school work, homework and journals are examined, where appropriate. In general, the process is conducted within normal school time. When students are interviewed, a teacher is always invited to be present.

More on school inspection

 

Who do I talk to if I have a problem in my job?

The ASTI is always here to support you in any issue you are experiencing in your job. We will advice on the best steps to take to resolve your concern. Call us on 01-6040160 or email info(at)asti.ie. Your query will be treated in strict confidence.