Teacher shortages will only be resolved by equal pay, says new ASTI President

Wednesday 01 August 2018

The teacher shortage crisis facing schools next year will only be resolved when the pay inequality experienced by new and recently qualified teachers is addressed, the new ASTI President Breda Lynch said today.

“The government must end the discrimination experienced by thousands of teachers who entered the teaching profession since 2010. The ASTI believes equal pay for equal work and experience is fundamental to a fair and inclusive society. It is not right that so many of our younger teachers teach the importance of equality in the classroom, but are denied this basic right in terms of their pay.”

Speaking on her first day as ASTI President Ms Lynch said key priorities during her term of office (August 1 2018 – July 31 2019) are the discriminatory pay arrangements of post 2010 entrants and the increased work demands of teachers. “These two issues are the leading causes of job dissatisfaction amongst teachers. A recent RED C/ ASTI survey found that just 51% of teachers described themselves as either very satisfied or satisfied with their work compared to 77% in 2009,” said Ms Lynch.

“ASTI and other research demonstrates that teachers choose teaching as a career because they want to help young people and improve their lives. This is good news. However, we must always be mindful of the link between teachers’ working conditions, students’ learning conditions and the quality of our education service.”

Another priority for the incoming ASTI president is ensuring that the teaching profession is central to the design and delivery of education change.

“Teachers’ pedagogical expertise and their classroom experience are vital to informing education policy. As the collective voice of the teaching profession, teachers’ unions must be centrally involved at all stages in education change processes – from the development of proposals to the implementation of change in the classroom.”

A maths teacher at Muckross Park College in Dublin, Ms Lynch – who grew up in Cavan – said the recent dispute over changes to the Junior Cycle demonstrates the importance of listening to teachers’ views on education change. “They are the ones who must drive education change at school level. They know best what will and will not work. Teachers want the best for their students and they deserve to have their concerns listened to.”