TUI continued to highlight the effects of cutbacks on the education system and on those working in it. In August, the union highlighted that more than one in four second-level teachers are employed on contracts offering less than full working hours. This situation has been exacerbated by the rise in casualisation of the profession due to the removal of a further 700 posts as a result of the cut in teacher numbers due to guidance counselling provision being brought in quota in schools. Quoted in the Irish Times, TUI Deputy General Secretary Annette Dolan said that “it has become the norm in recent times for young teachers to start out on small numbers of hours with no guarantee of their services being maintained in the following year.”
New TUI President Gerard Craughwell outlined on TV3 news that many teachers need financial support from their families as they struggle to make a career out of the profession.
Later in the month, TUI General Secretary John MacGabhann highlighted on RTE's Morning Ireland the need for 4,500 additional second level teachers in the coming years as a result of a huge spike in student numbers.
Annual Congress 2012
TUI's annual Congress was held in Wexford between April 10th and April 12th. The event allowed the union to focus public attention on the huge damage that cutbacks are inflicting on the education system and also to issue a warning that any cuts on teacher allowances would be a breach of the Croke Park Agreement.
Click here for latest TUI media coverage.
Regional Media Campaign (March/April 2012)
Ahead of the union’s annual Congress, TUI calculated the approximate loss of posts in second level schools as a result of changes to the guidance counselling provision on a county-by-county basis and furnished regional media with statements outlining the likely loss of posts and the detrimental effect the cut will have on the service to students.
Coverage was gained in a number of newspapers including the Tullamore Tribune, Clare People, Dundalk Democrat, New Ross Standard, Meath Chronicle, Donegal News, Nenagh Guardian, Tipperary Star, Connaught Telegraph, Clare Champion, Carlow Nationalist, Kilkenny People, Longford Leader, Roscommon Herald, Westmeath Independent, Enniscorthy Guardian, Gorey Guradian, Laois Nationalist and Offaly Independent, Carlow People.
TUI welcomes building programme but warns that jump in student numbers must not be used as excuse to worsen pupil teacher ratios 12/3/12
TUI members joined with student teachers in a march through Dublin City and subsequent rally at Leinster House on February 22nd in protest at the swingeing attacks on the terms and conditions of new entrants to the profession. Click here for press statement.
TUI described the effects of the cut in teacher numbers announced as part of the Budget by way of a change to the provision of guidance counselling as ‘catastrophic’ for the life chances of the most vulnerable. Subject choice will be badly hit and student drop-out could also rise as a result of the cuts, the union stated.
Speaking on the day of the Budget, TUI General Secretary Peter MacMenamin said:
“This huge cut of 700 to 800 in teacher numbers at second level will have catastrophic effects for the most vulnerable in schools. The most likely scenario will see schools offering a stripped down guidance service from the general teaching provision while simultaneously cutting back on subject choice. As we have warned time and time again, subjects such as Honours Maths, Physics and Chemistry are the most likely to be culled as a result of any narrowing of options to students."
RTE television news bulletins – Monday 5th December 2011
Speaking on the removal of the ex- quota guidance provision for schools on RTE1’s Six and Nine news bulletins which will see the removal of around 700 posts from second level schools, TUI General Secretary Peter MacMenamin said: “This is a devastating cut. We heard the Taoiseach say last night that there is a need to protect the most marginalised and disadvantaged in society and we aspire to that as well, but unfortunately this is actually going to directly affect the most marginalised and disadvantaged.”
EDUCATION CUTS DON'T HEAL – Public meeting for Tuesday 29th November, Gresham Hotel Dublin
The arguments against inflicting further austerity measures on the education sector were addressed at this public meeting by Finnish educationalist Ritva Semi, UCD Professor of Education Ciaran Sugrue and teacher union representatives.
‘The announcements of Minister Brendan Howlin and Minister Michael Noonan in relation to where the axe falls will determine what kind of society we will have in the future,' said TUI Deputy General Secretary Annette Dolan.
'Cutbacks in education represent disastrous social and economic policy. For short term savings, the life chances of thousands of young people could be put at severe risk, particularly for those who live and study in communities already devastated by the effects of recession.’
Post Primary Education Forum press conference
This took place on Monday 28th November at the Gresham Hotel. Parent representatives joined with school management bodies, TUI and ASTI in outlining the hugely damaging effects that further cutbacks in the education sector would have. Click here for press statement.
Budget 2012 – education cuts don’t heal
With Budget 2012 approaching, ritual kite flying in the media suggests that all sectors of education could come under further attack. Independently and with the other teacher unions, unions (ASTI, IFUT, INTO), TUI is campaigning to insulate education from further attacks.
How can you help?
You can add your voice to the campaign by contacting your local TDs. Your participation can make a real difference to how the second-level sector fares in Budget 2012.
TUI members took part in the national demonstration against cuts on Saturday November 26th. The event was organised by the Dublin Trades Council and supported by ICTU.
Lobby of TDs
On Wednesday 23rd November, a delegation from the three main teacher unions lobbied TDs and senators who formerly worked in the education service or have specific responsibility for the sector as part of their brief. The damage that would be done to the education system by further cutbacks was fully emphasised at all times.
Highlighting the consequences of cutbacks
One of the more persistent rumours in relation to measures being considered by Government relates to a further worsening of the pupil teacher ratio in Irish schools.
It must be stressed at every available opportunity that this does not mean one or two more pupils in a class group at second level – it means less teachers in schools. The pupil teacher ratio (PTR) is currently 19:1. A worsening of it by a point to 20:1 would result in one less teacher or 33 less class periods in a small sized school or two less teachers and 66 less class periods in a smaller school.
The inevitability is that subjects such as Physics and Honours Maths, which often struggle to attract large numbers of students, may come under threat in some schools. Another inevitability would see more students taking different levels of a subject grouped together and more students from different years grouped together.
As an example, the fate of the Leaving Certificate Applied programme shows that, regrettably, our fears of the consequences of cutbacks are invariably proved right. The programme was one of the earliest to have its resources cut. It was no surprise two years later, therefore, to see that both participation and grades in the programme had fallen significantly.
At third level, the introduction of fees for postgraduate courses or further funding cuts would have devastating effects for research and the service available to students.
TUI is using every available opportunity and forum to highlight the damage that further cutbacks would wreak on the education system.
In recent weeks, TUI representatives have commented on the consequences of a further worsening of the PTR in a range of local newspapers including Cork Independent, Dundalk Democrat, Waterford News & Star, New Ross Echo, Enniscorthy Echo, Wexford Echo, Gorey Echo, East Cork Journal, Galway Independent, Connacht Tribune, Galway City Tribune, Clare Champion, Westmeath Independent, Offaly Independent, Roscommon Herald, Tipperary Star, Meath Chronicle, Westmeath Examiner, Kerry’s Eye.
A summary of recent media activities can be found here.
Since August, countless media reports have suggested that an increase in the pupil teacher ratio at second level from 19:1 to 20:1 is being strongly considered by Government as part of Budget 2012.
With this in mind, TUI has used every opportunity both nationally and locally to highlight the damage that such retrogressive move would make.
In recent weeks, local media were furnished with tailored statements outlining:
1. The possible loss of second level teachers in the locality as a result of a one point worsening of the pupil teacher ratio
2. The repercussions of such a move in terms of subject choice, larger class groups, choice of levels etc
Headlines from some of the coverage set out below
200 teachers in capital at risk as classes to get bigger – Evening Herald
TUI warn subject choice in Offaly schools could be restricted – Tullamore Tribune
Wicklow teachers posts ‘at risk’ – union fears 26 teachers jobs could be lost – Bray People
26 teachers could be lost in second level Mayo schools – TUI concern over erosion of pupil teacher ratio – Connaught Tribune
’30 teachers less’ in Meath if ratio increased – Meath Chronicle
Cuts threaten 20 teaching jobs in Westmeath – Westmeath Examiner
34 Tipp teachers could go – TUI – Tipperary Star
Threat to 27 Kerry teaching jobs – Kerry’s Eye
Second level schools could lose eight teachers – Teachers’ Union of Ireland warns that range of subjects could be restricted – Roscommon Herald
15 teachers could be lost in Offaly schools – Offaly Independent
Fears over teacher posts in Westmeath – Westmeath Independent
Union predicts loss of more than 20 teachers – Clare Champion
Budget proposals could mean the axing of 45 Galway teaching posts – Galway City Tribune
Subject choices will be slashed in Government cuts teacher numbers – Connacht Tribune
45 local teachers could lost jobs – TUI in warning over increase in class size – Galway Independent
Fears for 28 teachers – Enniscorthy Echo; New Ross Echo; Gorey Echo; Wexford Echo
Larger classes could mean loss of 20 teaching jobs – Waterford News & Star
Fears for Louth jobs – Dundalk Democrat
Blackboard jungle – Cork could face 200 teacher job losses next year – Cork Independent
100 teachers could be lost in second level Cork schools if pupil teacher ratio was further worsened – says TUI – East Cork Journal