Teaching jobs and contracts

Find out how teaching jobs are allocated to schools and the various types of contracts available to teachers. 

The number of teacher appointments in a school is linked to the number of students attending the school; this is known as the pupil-teacher ratio. Schools can also apply to the Department for ‘concessionary’ teaching hours. These extra hours are granted depending on a school’s individual needs. Some schools may also pay for teaching hours directly from their own funds.

You’ll find that most of the teaching jobs on offer are temporary or part-time, covering for teachers on leave or covering concessionary hours. Most new teachers begin their careers in this way. The good news is that an expected rise in enrolment and the establishment of new schools means more teaching jobs should soon open up.

Your employer

If you are employed by a voluntary secondary school or a community or comprehensive school, your employer is the Board of Management of the school. The Department of Education and Skills will be your 'paymaster' and will pay you directly.

If you are employed by a community college or vocational school, your employer is the relevant Education and Training Board (ETB), which will be your 'paymaster' and will pay you directly.

If you are employed privately by the school, the school's management is your employer and paymaster.

Teaching contracts

The type of contract you hold depends on the reasons for the vacancy and the type of hours you will cover. A non-permanent contract should only be given when the need for the teacher’s service is genuinely a temporary one, for example, where you are replacing a teacher on leave.

You should make sure you receive clear written information on the terms and conditions of your job, either in the form of a letter of appointment, a written contract, or a written statement. You are entitled to this information and it’s important that you keep a copy of all documents, as they may be important in future.

Permanent teachers are contracted to teach up to 22 hours per week.

Non-permanent contracts

There are five categories of non-permanent teaching contracts:

Regular part-time contracted teacher
A regular part-time teacher is appointed where the need for a teacher is viable for at least a year. For example, you would have a pro-rata contract where you are covering concessionary hour or for a career break.

Temporary whole-time teacher
A temporary whole-time teacher is appointed to work full hours on a temporary basis, normally for at least one year. For example, where you are replacing a teacher on secondment or the Department does not sanction a permanent position.

Non-casual part-time teacher
A non-casual part-time teacher is appointed where there is a specific need for a teacher for less than a year but more than 150 hours in total in the year. For example, if you are covering for a teacher on maternity leave.

Casual part-time teacher
A casual part time teacher is appointed where there is a casual need for hours to be covered. For example, where you are replacing a teacher on short-term sick leave.                    

Unqualified casual part-time teacher
An unqualified casual part-time teacher is an unqualified teacher employed on a casual basis for fewer than 150 hours per year.     

Regular part-time contracts, non-casual part-time contracts, and temporary whole-time contracts are fixed-term contracts.

Permanent contracts and contracts of indefinite duration (CIDs)
If you find a permanent job, you may receive a probationary contract initially, but once the probationary period has been served you should receive a permanent contract. 

Contracts of indefinite duration (CIDs) afford the holder the same rights and entitlements as a permanent teacher, except that they 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 three 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.

The hours of a CID will be the same as those held in the contract immediately prior to receiving a CID.

The ASTI assists many teachers in making CID claims - read about some recent cases.


No matter what contract you have, you should check that it:
  • sets out the nature and duration of your employment
  • clarifies the type of contract under which you are employed
  • clarifies the number of hours per week you are contracted to teach
  • names the subjects and levels you will be teaching
  • gives the reason for the vacancy you are filling
  • tells you whether you will be paid by the Department of Education, the VEC /ETB or the school.