Northwest Express Logo

Pure CSS Dropdown Menus



Click here to view the Latest Edition



View our Sister Publications, Mature Living and Sligo Now

Mature Living

Sligo Now


Click here to view the previous editions of Northwest Express in our archive


Schools in crisis over teacher shortage

WHO would wish to be a secondary school principal in the current climate? With more than 400,000 post-primary pupils returning to school for the new academic the shortage of teachers is reaching crisis level.
While rising accommodation costs is a major issue in Dublin, with teachers unable to afford to live there, the impact of rising pupil numbers and the lack of teaching graduates in key subjects is exacerbating the problem throughout the country.
The worst affected subjects are Irish, home economics and guidance counselling, which are facing a “severe supply crisis”, according to second-level school managers. The Joint Managerial Body (JMB) representing about half of post-primary schools, said “it is impossible to get a home economics replacement teacher”.
On the supply side also, in relation to home economics, the JMB said the single training college for teacher graduates in this subject – St Angela’s, Co Sligo – doesn’t have sufficient capacity to meet demand, and is calling for a second college in the eastern region.
The management body has asked the department to come up with guidelines for schools in difficulty on how to make provision for Irish, home economics and guidance counselling in the year ahead. While it welcomes Department of Education efforts to improve teacher supply in the long term, the JMB said short-term measures were also needed.
There are many other factors, of course. Post the Covid emergency, and the reopening of international travel, there is also anecdotal evidence of young teachers searching out work opportunities in tax-free places, such as Dubai, where they can save for a house. The influx of Ukranian pupils is impacting on both fronts – the pupil numbers and the requirement for more accommodation. Teachers and students are finding it practically impossible to get accommodation in Dublin anyway with the problem compounded by the growth in “phantom” renters who take deposits for properties that don’t exist.
Dublin is particularly badly affected by the staffing supply crisis, with the shortage of accommodation and high rents causing graduates and young teachers to seek jobs outside the capital.
Some commentators content the shortage is “not helped by the pay discrimination, which sees teachers paid at different rates for carrying out the same work, the two-tier system”.
Most important, there are concerns that the quality of education is also under threat with many teachers asked to duplicate, fill roles and teach subjects they are not familiar with.