Heard and passed in public session on Tuesday 10th April 2012
a. condemns the pressure that is being exerted on rural schools by the revised staffing schedule which will have the effect of making it very difficult for these schools to develop or even to survive;
b. warns that this policy of slowly strangling the rural schools will lead to young children being forced to travel long distances to school;
c. demands that the staffing schedule be immediately revised with particular reference to the protection of small schools and condemns retrospective changes to the staffing schedule;
d. instructs the CEC to establish immediately a task force on small schools with all the relevant stakeholders:
(i) to examine in detail all matters relating to small schools;
(ii) to make recommendations to support and protect small schools;
(iii) and that the CEC report back to a Special Congress in June 2012.
e. instructs the task force to seek submissions from all INTO branches and districts to be used in a concerted INTO campaign for the protection of small schools and that this campaign seeks to involve all of the education partners in these schools.
a. notes the effective delivery to date of targets set by the Croke Park Agreement and particularly the fact that primary teachers have implemented in full the commitments given in the Agreement;
b. deplores attacks on public servants and on the negotiated Croke Park Agreement which are often unfair, intemperate and fail to acknowledge the ongoing contribution by public servants as reflected in the Progress Reports on the Agreement;
c. demands that the terms of the Public Service Agreement 2010 – 2014 be fully implemented;
d. asserts that any cuts in incremental pay or allowances including supervision allowance, qualification allowance and promoted posts allowances shall be considered a breach of this Agreement;
e. calls on the CEC to ballot INTO members on industrial action up to and including strike action, in the event of a breach of the Agreement.
Newly Qualified Teachers
a. condemns the continued targeting of the pay and conditions of NQTs;
b. instructs the CEC, in conjunction with other public service unions, to step up its campaign of action to have these reductions to starting salaries rescinded;
c. endorses the INTO’s Claim to the Equality Tribunal that this salary cut amounts to discrimination on the age ground;
d. commits the INTO to seeking to equalise teachers’ pay scales through seeking a preferential increase for teachers on the 2011 reduced scales at the first and every subsequent opportunity, where salaries are being increased, until such time as the scales are equalized.
GAM / Resource Hours
Congress calls on the CEC to campaign to ensure that general allocation hours and low incidence resource hours can, where appropriate, be combined to maintain and create a full teaching post of 25 hours.
Heard and passed in public session on Wednesday 11th April 2012
Congress deplores the totally inadequate funding of primary education and calls on the CEC to:
a. oppose the proposed reductions in the school capitation grant;
b. demand that the annual minor works grant be retained;
c. further demands that the Summer Works Scheme be retained as a job creation measure.
Public Service Pension
a. notes the terms of the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) Bill 2011;
b. believes the changes as contained in the Bill are not justified on evidence of cost or otherwise;
c. reaffirms INTO’s strong opposition to the diminution of Public Service pension terms for new entrants which is part of the attack on workers’ occupational pensions across the private and public sectors;
d. notes the campaign of lobbying and publicity, and the strike by INTO members in Northern Ireland on 30 November 2011, as part of the INTO’s efforts to protect the pension terms of existing and future members in both jurisdictions on the island; and
e. calls on the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform to immediately carry out an updated actuarial review of teachers’ pension terms, as provided for in Section 40 of the Bill, and to revise the contributions of, and benefits to, new entrant teachers affected by the Bill, on the basis of such review.
Literacy and Numeracy
a. acknowledges that teachers strive to achieve the highest standards of literacy and numeracy, despite schools being stripped of resources and supports resulting from the very low investment in Irish education relative to other EU countries;
b. demands that the core philosophy of a child centred primary school curriculum be defended at all levels;
c. deplores the approach outlined in the strategy, with its reliance upon goals, targets and testing;
d. demands that the data driven emphasis on targets and dates be omitted;
e. demands that the Education Committee investigate all aspects of standardised testing, and to report to congress 2013.
Congress notes the recent publication of ‘School Self-Evaluation’, Draft Guidelines for Primary Schools by the Inspectorate of the DES.
Congress further notes that these draft Guidelines are already being acted upon before meaningful dialogue has taken place between the education partners.
Congress calls on the CEC
a. to initiate a consultation process to allow members consider, discuss and evaluate these draft Guidelines;
b. to negotiate with the DES to ensure that the draft Guidelines not be acted upon until this consultation process has been completed;
c. to enter into discussion with the DES in relation to resource provision relating to this proposed initiative.
Career Entry Professional Programme
a. rejects the Teaching Council 'Career Entry Professional Programme'; and
b. directs the CEC to enter into immediate negotiations with the Teaching Council to prepare an alternative, amenable, workable document for consultation with all relevant parties.
c. calls on all teacher members of the Teaching Council to ensure that adequate time for consultation is allowed.
a. commends teachers in DEIS schools for succeeding in significantly raising literacy and numeracy levels, as highlighted in the report on the first phase of the DEIS programme in primary schools;
b. notes that the findings of the said report highlight the folly of the recent government decision to cut teacher numbers in DEIS schools;
c. demands that the CEC mount a sustained and vigorous campaign in order to ensure that these cuts be fully reversed.
Congress, recognising the impact on school leadership of continuing cut backs in public expenditure:
a. calls for any further changes in the role of school leadership to be negotiated, agreed and adequately resourced;
b. demands alleviation, equivalent to that granted to second level schools, in the moratorium on posts of responsibility in order to build effective school management structures in all schools;
c. demands an increase in release time for teaching principals;
d. rejects the concept of further autonomy being imposed on school leaders without appropriate school-based supports and resources to implement such changes; and
e. instructs the INTO Principals’ and Deputy Principals’ Committee to carry out a study of the impact of recent staffing, funding and legislative changes on principal teachers, and report to Congress 2013.
a. notes the significant contribution that primary teachers make to the continued development of teaching, learning and research in the Irish primary education system through their engagement in postgraduate studies;
b. condemns the government’s decision to abolish Special Education Diploma/Masters/Doctorate qualification allowances for teachers who will undertake these courses in the future and the threat to the payment of the qualification allowances to teachers currently undertaking these courses;
c. demands that the CEC enter into negotiations with the DES to allow for the retention of the academic allowances for teachers currently pursuing courses of study which they began prior to December 5th 2011.
d. further demands that remuneration for extra qualifications be reinstated.
a. notes the commitment in the programme for government 'that people of non-faith or minority religious background, and publicly identified LGBT people should not be deterred from training or taking up employment as teachers';
b. welcomes the work of the Forum on Pluralism and Patronage;
c. calls for systematic and planned measures to ensure diversity of school patronage;
d. calls for the implementation of measures to ensure that all schools cater effectively for diversity in the school community;
e. calls for the implementation of measures to ensure equality of access to colleges of education for people of non-faith or minority religious backgrounds;
f. instructs the CEC, subject to legal advice, to initiate a complaint to the European Commission in relation to the compatibility of Section 37.1 of the Employment Equality Act( 1998-2008) with European legislation and directives; and
g) further instructs the CEC to take whatever measures necessary to have Section 37.1 revoked.
(i) the recent addition of the qualifying term 'access to SNA provision' in relation to the needs of pupils with SEN, a term which is now being exploited to the full to drastically reduce the level of special support for these children;
(ii) the absence of an appeal and review procedure in the allocation of SNAs;
(i) that the assessment of educational and care needs of children, specifically the determination of their need for SNA support and resource teaching provision, is carried out only by professionals with appropriate educational qualifications;
(ii) that the needs of the whole class in which a pupil with SEN is placed, must also be a key consideration in determining necessary SNA support, in recognition of every child’s right to a proper education;
(iii) that the CEC seek restoration of full SNA support for pupils with SEN duly assessed as being in need of this level of support ;
(iv) the immediate introduction of an independent appeal and review process.
English as an Additional Language
Congress demands that where sanction was given for one EAL post in 2011/2012, schools be allowed retain that post if the number of EAL pupils is equal to or exceeds the originally agreed figure of 14 pupils.
Verbal and physical attacks on Teachers
a. notes with concern:
(i) the increase in verbal and physical attacks on teachers in schools, including special schools and autistic units;
(ii) the detrimental impact this has on both the physical and mental health of teachers;
(iii) the lack of unified safety guidelines in the area of physical restraint;
b. calls on the CEC to:
(i) hold a conference before the end of December 2012 to draw up a policy document and unified guidelines addressing the above issues. All teachers and principals in those relevant schools to be invited to partake in this conference;
(ii) enter into negotiations with the DES to have these guidelines implemented.
Congress calls on the CEC to recognise and honour the achievements of our past President Catherine Mahon on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of her Presidency.