Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Marian Harkin

Question:

231 Ms Harkin asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will consider the application from a person (details supplied) in County Sligo for a permanent position as a learning support teacher in the primary sector. [3935/03]

A permanent position as a learning support teacher may only be filled by fully recognised and fully probated primary teachers. Qualified second level teachers who have not undergone a post-graduate primary conversion course to qualify as a primary teacher are not accepted for the purpose of recognition to teach in a permanent capacity in primary schools. In addition such teachers would have to be fully probated in order to apply for a permanent position as a learning support teacher.

In this connection I should point out that my Department grants restricted recognition to teachers with a recognised post-primary qualification to enable them to teach in special schools where a proportion of the pupils attending the special school are of post-primary age, i.e.12 years or older, and where second level programmes are being provided by the school. Furthermore, there is a temporary scheme, currently in operation, whereby recognised secondary teachers are entitled to the higher rate of remuneration for any work carried out in a temporary or substitute capacity at primary school level. I emphasise however that this is a temporary scheme which was introduced in response to the teacher supply situation at primary level and there are no proposals to establish such a scheme on a permanent basis.

My Department is examining the feasibility of providing a modular type course for second level trained teachers currently teaching in primary schools who hold the necessary academic qualification in Irish. This course, if introduced, would enable such teachers to obtain full recognition as primary teachers.