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Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 14 December 2021

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

Questions (406, 408, 422, 423)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

406. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education the reason very few of the 467 teachers on secondment that would be available for substitute work have become available to schools (details supplied); if these teachers have been deployed temporarily to the substitute panels across the country; if not, if she will ensure they are added to the substitute panel and that this panel is made available to all schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [61650/21]

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Kathleen Funchion

Question:

408. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education if the approximately 467 teachers on secondment that were to be made available for substitute work have made themselves available to schools given schools continue to report failing to find substitute teachers to cover classes in view of the fact they do not know the way to contact these teachers; the reason the teachers were not deployed temporarily to the substitute panels across the country; and the measures that will be put in place in order that they can be easily accessed by schools. [61655/21]

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Gary Gannon

Question:

422. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education the mechanism in place for school principals to contact teachers on secondment who have been released in order to be available for substitute work; and the reason these teachers were not deployed temporarily to the substitute panels across the country. [62003/21]

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Gary Gannon

Question:

423. Deputy Gary Gannon asked the Minister for Education if he will address the issue of principals not being able to contact teachers on secondment who have been released in order to be available for substitute work by placing these teachers on the substitute panels in order they can be easily accessed by schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [62004/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 406, 408, 422 and 423 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department recently contacted schools to outline a wide range of new additional measures to increase the availability of substitutes teachers.

In respect of one of these measures, the Teacher Education support services funded by my Department have made arrangements to release teachers who are on secondment to provide substitute cover in schools. As outlined in the notice to schools, arrangements have been made for available teachers from these services to register on the SubSeeker portal which is available to all schools. Principals can access available substitutes using this portal.

Those staff working in the Teacher Education support services also continue to support schools through their work in the support services when they are not called to provide substitute cover. A number of secondees have also been retained to continue to support the system by delivering planned priority CPD relating to reforms in Senior Cycle examinable subjects and some limited provision at primary level (e.g. Reading Recovery). All other CPD at both Primary and Post Primary, where substitution is required, will be deferred until after the February 2022 mid-term break. The temporary suspension of CPD will not affect the completion of the Droichead process for Newly Qualified Teachers whose contracts are due to end prior to the mid-term break in February. It is intended that this deferred CPD will be re-scheduled in the period following the February 2022 mid-term break.

This is just one of a number of measures to increase the availability of substitute teachers in schools, including of course the flexibility being provided by Higher Education Institutes to enable students teachers to support schools up to the end of term.

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