A reply will issue this week. I regret the delay in replying to the Deputy's correspondence in relation to post-qualification experience for newly qualified teachers. I am aware that there are newly qualified teachers not yet holding teaching positions in schools and I will continue to keep the matter under review.
An increase in the level of supervision and substitution hours to be provided by existing teachers was one of a set of proposals for a public service agreement put forward by the Labour Relations Commission, which now form the Public Service Stability Agreement 2013-2016 (the Haddington Road Agreement). As the LRC proposals are part of a wider public-sector pay agreement that represent compromises by both employers and unions, I do not have the ability to alter the terms of that agreement.
However, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that provision has been made in the 2014 estimates for increases in teacher numbers due to demographics as well as increases in resource teacher numbers. In addition, a number of measures have been taken to alleviate difficulties for new teachers. Managerial authorities of schools have been directed to recruit unemployed teachers ahead of retired ones, in an effort to ease the difficulties for those who cannot find work in the profession. JobBridge, the National Internship Scheme, can provide newly qualified teachers with opportunities to gain experience and to undertake the necessary teaching duties to complete the process of probation.
The Teaching Council has responsibility for induction and probation of both primary and post primary teachers. All teachers must complete their induction and probation successfully before they can achieve full registration with the Teaching Council. If a registered teacher is unable to complete the requirements of a registration condition within the specified period, the teacher may apply to the Council for an extension to that period. The Teaching Council will be able to advise a teacher in relation to how to proceed should this become relevant to him or her.