Shared full-time posts and travel between schools is a long standing feature of the primary system. There were a plethora of long-standing clustering arrangements in place which were not the most practical, efficient or cost effective way to allocate resources. The new arrangements introduced in the current school year are designed to address the limitations of the previous arrangements. Under the reforms to the teacher allocation process introduced for the current school year, schools were empowered to cluster and arrange their General Allocation Model resources in a manner that best suits their local needs, including in a manner that reduces travel between schools. This school led process has resulted in over 97% of the overall GAM allocation being in full-time stand-alone or shared posts.
Aside from the reforms to the GAM, the allocation of resource hours for individual pupils varies from year to year. This is because of the ongoing individual assessment of pupils through the NCSE must operate on a later timescale. The new arrangements involve the allocation of a network of permanent posts in base schools and again are designed to make the system work more smoothly at school level. 85% of all NCSE approved resource teaching hours in the 2012/13 school year were allocated to schools that had resource base posts.
The staffing arrangements for the coming school year 2013/14 are outlined in Circular 0013/2013 which is available on the Department website. When the allocation and redeployment process is completed later in the Summer schools that have complied with the arrangements outlined in the Circular will be given some discretion to operate, where possible, their own temporary local arrangements in relation to the day to day work arrangements of teachers in full-time shared posts. These arrangements are aimed at minimising any time lost in travelling between schools.