March 30 In the Press

Teachers' are being balloted for strike action

INTO says domino effect of teacher job losses to start with over 560 posts to go

By Eleanor McGillie

THE Northern Secretary of Ireland’s largest teachers’ union has said the domino effect of teacher job losses is expected to be rolled out within weeks with over 560 jobs to be lost within a matter of months.

Gerry Murphy, of INTO, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation, said a meeting with managers at the Department of Education and the Education and Library Board has revealed that language specialists will be losing their jobs in April, over 200 teaching posts will be lost in June with a further 300 being made redundant in September.

Mr Murphy, who fears the total job losses will be much higher, has described the roll out as a ‘domino effect’ which will have grave economic impact on our communities and on the education of our next generation. He said, as a result, INTO will embark on a campaign of action short of strike to highlight the continued injustice of the Department’s budget cuts.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Murphy said: “These job losses are made up of around 270 teacher redundancies from schools, the loss of 200 signature project posts throwing young teachers from a period of certainty to one of scrambling for any substitute work going and finally the loss of over 90 language specialists employed by the Education and Library Boards.

“All of these job losses will not be voluntary and we predict the total figure will be much higher. They will cut deep into schools and attack the most vulnerable. All of this is happening to balance a budget and make savings in one year at the cost of the children’s futures.

“Officials in the Department of Education are clearly focused on cost reduction while paying lip service to the value that a skilled teacher brings to the child in the classroom.”

Mr Murphy said INTO consistently campaigns for the Department not be focusing on cost reduction but instead look at the money it could save elsewhere by spending wiser.

He said: “Children and communities in Northern Ireland will suffer because the Department can’t manage its own budget. We already know the cost of teacher stress has amassed to £10million. We know the cost of teacher suspensions is estimated by the Department to be almost £1million. The Department needs to spend wiser and invest in education as opposed to making cuts which will negatively impact on everyone.”

Mr Murphy said Department of Education seems to be concerned that not all schools, which have a budgetary deficit, have made staffing reductions. He said it would appear schools are to be revisited by the Education and Library Boards finance team to ensure that they are living within their budget and said, for many schools, this will be further pressure to reduce staffing so the Department can achieve the necessary budgetary savings.

Mr Murphy said: “The losers in this process will be the children in the classroom. INTO is encouraging parents to campaign to retain teaching posts, to lobby politicians for investment and to highlight the injustice and damage to their children’s education by a Department which continually reduces teacher numbers.

“Standing together with INTO, parents and the wider community can bring about change and that change will be better for children, teachers and our economy.”

ENDS:

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.
  • For interview requests or further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9569 | 07709805379| Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts | Public Relations UK | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Education PR

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