The £1million bill of teacher suspensions is ‘grossly excessive’ says INTO
By Eleanor McGillie
Ireland’s largest teacher’s union says the cost of teacher suspensions in Northern Ireland is a growing concern with senior officials calling for the Department of Education to stop burying their heads and deal with suspensions promptly.
Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) says a recent answer to an assembly question revealed the cost of teacher suspensions was estimated by the Department to be £943,648.74. The Department indicated that the costs arose from 11 teachers being suspended but did not indicate the length of each suspension or the reason for applying it.
Mr Carlin, who described the bill for these 11 suspensions as ‘grossly excessive’, said: “INTO considers this figure to be grossly excessive and we believe it to be a serious underestimate of the scale of the problem.
“These 11 teachers have been suspended, but, rather than actually deal with the issue and reach a conclusion, they are being kept on long term suspensions. We have dealt with some teachers who have been on suspension for five years, some three years and some 18 months.
“The Education Library Boards right across our region are picking up this huge bill. This is money which otherwise would be used to educate our children.”
Mr Carlin, who spoke at the Northern Conference last week, said that issues surrounding suspensions can often be complex, but this should not deter the Department of Education or Boards of Governors, to deal with the individual cases.
He added: “By not dealing with these suspensions the Department of Education, and Boards of Governors, are burying their heads in the sand and are responsible for raking up huge bills – money which could otherwise be used to educate our children and impact positively on our economy.
“We believe the true cost of suspensions to the education budget is millions of pounds. We further estimate that the delays in dealing with complex issues have led some governors to believe that suspension rather than resolution is the norm. This has to stop.”
On Thursday (March 5) INTO will be announcing the results of the ballot of its 6,647 members which will reveal if enough votes have been cast to take industrial action over Northern Ireland’s education system.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
- INTO is the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation. It is the largest teachers’ union in Ireland. INTO has a Northern Office and a Southern Office. Our Northern Office is based at Vere Foster House, 23 College Gardens, Belfast. #NIConf2015
- INTO has 6,647 members in Northern Ireland – NEELB – 980; SEELB – 794; BELB – 1,160; WELB – 1,568; SELB – 2,147
- For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379|