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Resolutions Adopted

Resolutions Adopted

Heard and passed in public session on Tuesday morning - 26th April 2011

Teacher Employment

Congress:  

(a)  condemns the inevitable and damaging loss to our schools of significant numbers of highly qualified primary teachers due to the unfolding impact of reduced staffing levels already announced, along with further threatened reductions, and warns that the forced unemployment and/or emigration of these teachers will pose a significant threat to the future of the education service and also to national economic recovery, dependent as that is on the provision of a high quality primary education service to all;  

(b)  instructs the CEC to establish immediately a Task Force on Teacher Employment to examine in detail all relevant matters, including teacher supply and teacher education, class size and school staffing, and make recommendations that will:

(i) maximise employment opportunities for newly-qualified teachers (NQTs);
(ii) improve access to probation and induction for NQTs
(iii) ensure efficient redeployment mechanisms;
(iv) ensure that INTO membership, support, advice and services are fully available to teachers facing or experiencing unemployment;  

(c)  instructs the Task Force to seek submissions from all INTO Branches and Districts and from student unions in Colleges of Education, to be received by 30 June 2011, and to make an interim report by October 2011 as part of a concerted INTO campaign on Teacher Employment.

New Entrants Pay/Pension

Composite of Motions 172,170, 213 and 176
 
Congress:

(a) calls on the CEC to campaign to ensure that new entrants to the teaching profession:
         (i) work under the equivalent working conditions of all current teachers in areas of pay parity, pension parity, security of tenure and equal employment conditions;
         (ii) start on the second/third point of the incremental scale as has been the practice up to 2010;

(b) instructs the CEC to draw up a strategy to redress these injustices up to and including industrial action.

Croke Park Agreement

Congress:

a. believes that any further cuts to the pay, or allowances, of teachers, including incremental pay, will constitute a breach of the Croke Park Agreement;
b. further believes that such a breach will mean the collapse of the Agreement and that all other elements, such as changes to time in school and to teachers' contracts, will be null and void;
c. demands that the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2010 – 2014, guaranteeing no further pay cuts and no compulsory redundancies, continue to apply; and
d. calls on the CEC to ballot INTO members on industrial action up to and including strike action, in the event of a breach of these guarantees.

Reduction in Teacher Numbers

Congress:

a. condemns the government announcement that it intends to cut 700 primary teaching posts from September 2011 and also its proposal to abolish 500 EAL posts within 4 years;
b. notes that the removal of these posts, RTTs, VTSTs, rural co-ordinators and language support teachers will affect the most marginalised in our education system.

Teaching Council Act

Congress:

a. strongly rejects the proposed amendment to Section 30 of the Teaching Council Act which seeks to enshrine in legislation the right of unqualified personnel to work as and be paid as teachers in Irish primary schools;

b. calls for a campaign of opposition to be initiated by the CEC;

c. instructs the CEC to notify the DES and Primary Management Authorities that, as and from, 1 September 2011, all INTO members will be directed not to work with unqualified personnel employed in any teaching capacity in a primary school;

d. demands that the CEC investigate the actual relevance of the Teaching Council and benefits accruing to teachers and children;

e. further demands that the CEC negotiate a 50% reduction in Teaching Council fees.

Small Schools

Congress:

a. views with concern the value for money review of small schools that the DES is undertaking;

b. demands that the CEC enter negotiations with the DES so that viable small schools continue as separate entities within their communities.

Teacher Pensions

Congress:

a. condemns the relentless attack on pension conditions of teachers North and South and reaffirms INTO’s commitment to an adequate and fair pension system, funded appropriately by employer and teacher contributions;

b. notes:

(i) that in the Republic of Ireland the findings of the Trident Report show that government proposals on a single pension scheme for public servants will compel many new entrant teachers to over-fund their pensions and deplores the proposed imposition of inferior pension terms;
(ii) the consultation process through the Hutton Commission in the UK and deplores the short-circuiting of this through the imposition of an additional contribution while the process is ongoing and believes that the 2007 “cap and share” Agreement in Northern Ireland already controls increasing costs substantially;

c. endorses INTO’s leading role in the campaign against destructive changes and for fairer pension reform in both jurisdictions;

d. commits the INTO to fighting with all means at its disposal for fairer pension reforms North and South.

Resolutions passed in public session on Wednesday 27th April 2011

Special Education

Congress:

a. condemns the attack on special educational needs provision, leading to a reduction in teacher numbers, SNA numbers and other members of the SEN team, cuts which target the most vulnerable pupils in the system;

b. demands that the CEC vigorously oppose these cuts;

c. further demands that recommendations made in psychological reports for the provision of support for children with special needs shall not be deconstructed by a SENO.

Resource allocation for 2011-2012 school year

Congress:

a. condemns the recent decision by the DES to pause the allocation of resource hours;

b. defends the rights of special education needs children and demands that all resource hours be allocated immediately to children who qualify for same;

c. calls on the CEC to ensure that:

(i) the DES notify schools by the end of May regarding resource allocation for 2011-2012 for children already on school lists, so that proper planning and provision is made in time for September for these children;
(ii) any children with special needs about whom schools are subsequently notified will have the resources allocated as speedily as possible.

School leadership

Noting with grave concern the increasing workload of school leaders in primary schools, Congress:

a. rejects any attempt to impose the responsibility for the probation of newly qualified teachers on principal teachers;

b. demands that the INTO engage with the Teaching Council, the DES and other relevant bodies to protect principal teachers from additional workload arising from any proposed arrangements for probation;

c. demands the restoration of the in-school management structure in primary schools to allow for the development of shared leadership functions;

d. demands the provision of adequate administrative time for teaching principals in primary schools to enable them to carry out their leadership functions;

e. demands that adequate secretarial/caretaking support and sufficient state funding be provided for all primary schools;

f. demands the expansion of support programmes and CPD opportunities for leadership teams in primary education; and

g. demands the payment of the outstanding award to principals and deputy principals.

Substitute service/panel rights

Congress:

a. welcomes the recognition by the DES of substitute service given by teachers and paid for by the DES for the purpose of securing panel rights and directs the CEC to enter into negotiations with the DES to find a mechanism to secure similar recognition for all substitute service which is given by teachers but which is not paid for by the DES;

b. calls on the DES, in light of the current crisis in teacher employment, to increase to five years the time allowed for a teacher to complete probation;

c. demands a guarantee from DES that all newly qualified teachers currently serving in primary schools and hoping to complete their Teaching Diploma will be facilitated in completing the Diploma during this school year.

Literacy and numeracy

Congress:

a. welcomes the publication of Better Literacy and Numeracy for Children and Young People – A Draft National Plan to improve Literacy and Numeracy in Schools as an opportunity to discuss and debate literacy and numeracy issues in schools;

b. notes the findings of the 2009 National Assessments and PISA 2009;

c. condemns the proposal in the draft plan to downgrade the teaching of the Arts;

d. rejects the proposal to do away with discretionary time; and

e. demands support for teachers to enhance literacy and numeracy standards in schools, such demand to include:

(i) a reduction in class size, particularly in infant classes;
(ii) a revision of the infant curriculum to bring its philosophy in line with Aistear;
(iii) opportunities for high quality CPD for teachers in teaching literacy and numeracy;
(iv) annual grants to schools to purchase materials for literacy and mathematics, the restoration of the school library service; and
(v) continuing investment in ICT infrastructure, software and professional development.

Salary rates

Congress:

a. condemns the injustice perpetrated on unprobated teachers by paying them at the untrained rate while employed as a learning support teacher, an EAL teacher or a resource teacher for Travellers;

b. demands that the CEC make it a priority issue that unprobated teachers be paid at the trained rate while employed in any of the above positions; and

c. further demands that the CEC issue an appeal to all schools to facilitate the deployment of NQTs in positions in school where they can complete the probation requirements.

Hibernia College

Congress:

a. views with concern the fact that Hibernia College, a private enterprise, is training more teachers than any of the state funded colleges of education; and

b. demands that the DES continues funding and supporting the state colleges of education and does not abdicate its responsibility further.

Policy study group

Congress calls on the CEC to formally propose within ICTU the setting up of a policy study group to conduct an urgent enquiry into:

a. the implications of the official claim made by the Department of Energy and Natural Resources that there is an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil equivalent to be found in Irish international waters, the value of which is now approaching a trillion euro before extraction costs;

b. the current and prospective net value of the offshore oil and gas wealth after estimated extraction costs;

c. the feasibility of the Irish State re-taking into public ownership this enormous wealth given the dire economic situation facing the majority of Irish people;

d. the desirability of establishing a state oil and gas development company along the lines of the Norwegian Statoil Company with a view to also possibly linking up any extraction process with that company or other state companies on terms favourable to Ireland;

e. the scope for an immediate significant hike in the taxation rate applied to the profits arising from the sale of these resources.

School transport

Congress calls on the CEC to ensure that that agreements for amalgamated schools re. school transport be honoured by the DES, as these formed part of the contract with the schools, staffs, and local communities, which guaranteed the amalgamations.