Over the coming weeks, we’ve decided to focus in on some of the issues facing Irish Primary Education in the run up to the General Election. In all the excitement, sometimes it’s important to set a context and thanks to Voices For Teachers and their members, a list of all the cuts to education are listed below. These are cuts to education that have happened since the first Croke Park Agreement. Séamus O’Connor who gave me permission to use this list adds that the extra responsibilities we have undertaken are not listed below. These are simply the things that were taken away. What are your thoughts?
1. Loss in take-home pay of between 18% and 32% due to pay cuts; USC; pension levy; tax and PRSI increases. Even more cuts for post 2011 teachers.
2. Serious cuts to allowances; withdrawal of qualification allowances (loss of €4,918 per year for post 2012 teachers with an honours degree)
3. Still no overdue benchmarking payment made to Principals
4. Pay cut of 5.5%-10% for those earning > €65,000, plus freeze of increments for three years, many losing more than the benefit of a Post of Responsibility (POR), but not losing the duties
5. A freeze of all increments for between 3 months – 3 years depending on your pay-grade. .
6. More expensive & worse career average pension from 1/1/2013 for new teachers
7. Retirement age increased significantly
8. Small schools loss of teachers and increased pupil/teacher ratio for others
9. Closure of some small schools, single teacher schools up from 8 to 60, with larger classes
10. Increase in class size. Many children are taught in classes of 35+
11. Massive cuts to EAL and General Allocation Learning Support hours
12. Loss of VTT, RTT, Rural Co-ordinators
13. Loss of Traveller Education Centres, and Refugee Education Centres
14. Abolition of grant for EAL and Learning Support
15. Loss of Free Bus services for children, meaning lengthy travel, especially when local small schools are forced to close
16. Longer working week – one hour extra in school every week (six days per year) on top of the many hours already spent after school on paperwork etc
17. New SSE demands, literacy and numeracy plans, targets and outcomes
18. Maternity leave cuts: No entitlement to reclaim holidays in lieu.
19. Decimation of sick leave entitlement: A direct attack on our most vulnerable colleagues who can least afford that extra stress
20. No sub cover for first day of self-certified Sick Leave or other categories
21. Significant loss of sub work for NPTs from all of these cuts
22. Forced double-jobbing: Teacher becomes child-minder in overcrowded classrooms when a colleague is absent on e.g. self-certified leave
23. Removal of yard duty pay: A considerable percentage of pay was cut here affecting all teachers: A higher percentage cut for lower earners. (to be subsumed into pay under HR)
24. Additional pay cuts: 30,000- 6.1 % pay cut, 35,000- 5.2 % pay cut, 40,000- 4.6% pay cut, 45,000- 4.1 % pay cut, 50,000- 3.7% pay cut.
25. Constant cuts to capitation grant
26. Abolition of minor works grant and summer works scheme for a number of years, with huge backlog to be addressed now that they have been reintroduced
27. Loss of Modern Language Initiative
28. Abolition of new and replacement (due to retirements, resignation of PORs) posts of responsibility in most schools
29. Cuts to SNAs, while number of children with SEN rises
30. New model for NEPS- less assessments, more work for teachers and principals
31. 15% cut to Special Education Resource Hours
32. Intentional delays of Resource Teaching support allocation, but schools must provide it while awaiting the allocation
33. Enlargement of NCSE incorporating SESS & NBSS (disbanded from August 2015); Visiting Teacher service
34. The introduction of several different salary scales, instead of one for all
35. The introduction of “€50 a week qualified teachers” through JobBridge
36. Continuous foisting of other people’s workload onto Teachers e.g. the Inspectorate (Droichead); NEPS (pre-assessment); OTs; SLTs; Cut PORs