The policy of my Department is to ensure, as far as possible, that the Managerial Authorities of schools give priority to unemployed registered teachers who are fully qualified when filling vacant teaching posts. It is important to note that schools themselves employ teachers and not the Department of Education and Skills.
However my Department has issued a number of circulars addressing this issue in recent years. Under these circulars school principals must maintain a list of unemployed registered teachers who are available for substitute work at short notice and report to the Board of Management on any exceptional occasion where they have to engage a registered teacher who is retired. Circular 31/2011 details a cascade of measures for recruitment of teachers, prioritising registered teachers over retired registered teachers and unregistered people.
A retired teacher who returns to teaching on or after 1 February 2012 will commence at the first point of the incremental salary scale. Incremental credit for service prior to 1 February 2012, qualification allowances and certain job role allowances are also not payable. This measure represents a significant financial disincentive for teachers who retired at the top of their salary scale, often with a post of responsibility allowance, to return to teaching. The first point of the teacher's salary scale represents the lowest point or starting salary for teachers. Thus it was decided that retired teachers would be placed at that point of the scale. I will arrange to compile the information regarding the numbers currently working and forward directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.