Teacher supply crisis – supporting new teachers
The education of children and young people is dependent on a strong and supported teaching workforce. It is vital that teaching is seen as an attractive and viable career for graduates and school leavers. The ASTI has demanded radical action in order to curb Ireland’s teacher supply crisis and ensure that second-level students get the education they deserve. We have been highlighting the issue of teacher shortages for years and have undertaken a number of research initiatives on the causes and extent of teacher shortages.
The following actions are essential to supporting teacher recruitment and retention in Ireland:
- A review of teachers’ pay which addresses issues such as the length of the salary scale, equal pay for post 2011 teachers, and the need for pay increases.
- Permanent jobs for recently qualified teachers.
- Reducing the length and cost of the two-year Professional Masters in Education.
- Addressing the cost of living and housing crises.
- Addressing workload and work intensity in teaching.
- Implementing a credible promotional structure in schools.
- Streamlined registration and recognition of service for all teachers returning from abroad.
Post-2010 Entrants' Pay
The ASTI has been to the forefront of the campaign for equal pay for post-2010 entrants to teaching. This included ASTI members taking strike action in opposition to the injustice of unequal pay.
In 2011 and again in 2012, specific pay cuts for new entrants to the teaching profession were imposed by government. There was no negotiation with teacher unions. From then on, a significant gap between the salary of new-entrant teachers and those who entered the profession earlier opened up.
Key actions to date
- In a number of ballots on national pay agreements, the ASTI rejected proposals that did not adequately address the pay inequality gap.
- We took strike action in 2016, demanding to have the injustice resolved.
- In taking strike action, ASTI members endured the full force of emergency legislation (FEMPI) imposed upon them (increment freezes, pay freezes, withholding of supervision and substitution payments etc.) even though the financial crisis had long since been declared over by senior government ministers.
- In a ballot in October 2020, members voted to take further industrial action in pursuit of equal pay.
- ASTI has intensively lobbied politicians.
- ASTI has protested at every opportunity to date.
- In 2022, ASTI members sacrificed a 1% pay increase for second-level teachers (available under Building momentum sectoral bargaining) so as to restore the PME allowance to post-2011 entrants.
Achievements to date
The ASTI campaign has already secured some important gains since the debacle began in 2011.
- In 2013, a reversal of the cut in qualification allowances for those who entered teaching in the period 1st January 2011 to 31st January 2012 was achieved.
- In the negotiations leading to the Haddington Road Agreement, the ASTI secured improved pay scales for both the post 1st January 2011 and post 1st February 2012 entrants. These pay scales came into effect from 1st November, 2013.
- In 2016, ASTI action secured the incorporation of the Honours Primary Degree allowance into the pay-scale of new-entrant teachers.
- In 2018, the removal of the 4th and 8th points of the new-entrant pay scale was secured.
- In 2022, the value of the PME allowance was applied to teachers appointed since February 2012. Teachers received this increase with effect from February 2022. This happened because second-level teachers who are members of the ASTI and TUI sacrificed a general 1% pay increase payable on 1st February 2022 under Building Momentum. In September 2013 new teachers’ starting salary was €30,702. In 2023, the starting salary is €41,191.
More to be done
As part of its campaign to make teaching attractive, the ASTI is calling for a pay review to address issues such as the length of the salary scale and equal pay for post-2010 entrants.
Permanent/full-time teaching positions
Most second level teachers struggle financially for several years on contracts of low hours after initial appointment. Regrettably, some of these teachers leave the country or teaching profession for more attractive employment opportunities.
The ASTI has called for increased access to permanent posts and full hours for these teachers.
Achievement of 2-year CIDs
We fought for and achieved two-year contracts of indefinite duration (CIDs) which has led to improvements for teachers.
Arrangements which came into effect in September 2015 mean teachers in temporary positions will become eligible for CIDs after two years in a school, provided they meet the criteria for a CID.
The arrangements followed a lengthy campaign by the ASTI and the teacher unions to have the issue of casualisation in second-level teaching addressed. However, more needs to be done to ensure new teachers can access a decent and secure income in their first years of teaching.
Cost of teacher education
The Government must commit to addressing the cost of entry to teaching if it is serious about recruiting and retaining teachers.
ASTI policy is:
- that the length of the two-year Professional Masters in Education (PME) is reduced
- that student teachers should receive payment during their school placement period
Cost of living and housing
Many young teachers are experiencing housing issues. This is exacerbating Ireland’s teacher shortage crisis.
Joint campaign on housing
The ASTI is supporting the Raise the Roof campaign on housing.
In November 2022 the ASTI and other education unions (INTO, TUI, IFUT, Fórsa, and Siptu (Education)) issued a statement accusing the government of a failed housing policy that is risking the delivery of education services: Education unions – Housing crisis threatens education system
A 2022 ASTI/RED C survey found that workload and work intensity are the main factors impacting on teacher wellbeing. Alarmingly, job satisfaction amongst teachers has dropped from 63% in 2021 to 50% in 2022.
Read the survey here: