Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Denis Naughten

Question:

92 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason qualified temporary teachers are paid during the summer months but unqualified teachers are not; the plans he has to review this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17333/03]

Temporary qualified teachers are paid salary for the entire period of their employment, including vacation periods or other school closures that fall during the period of employment. A temporary qualified teacher who is employed throughout September or on the first working day of October and continuing in employment until the end of that school year will be paid for the summer vacation. A temporary qualified teacher taking up employment after the first working day in October and continuing in a temporary capacity until the end of June will not be paid for the summer vacation unless he or she secures further temporary or permanent work with effect from the following 1 September.

Under the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997, short-term temporary unqualified teachers are entitled to holiday pay at a rate of 8% of the hours worked, subject to a maximum of 20 days in a school year. Temporary unqualified teachers also have entitlement to payment for public holidays provided that they have worked continuously for the five weeks ending on the day before the public holiday. Such teachers are also paid for Saturdays and Sundays provided that they are employed before and after the weekend. They are also paid for all casual school closures and mid-term breaks provided that they are employed before and after the closure.

Unqualified teachers should only be employed in primary schools in exceptional circumstances and when all avenues for recruiting qualified personnel have been exhausted. The primary sector has experienced a shortage of trained teachers in recent years, mainly as a result of the large number of posts created to reduce class sizes to cater for pupils in disadvantaged areas and to provide for those with special educational needs. My Department has introduced a range of measures to address the current shortage of qualified teachers and is also examining further options for addressing the teacher supply issue in consultation with relevant interests.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 79.