24th April 2019
Teachers want clear and consistent guidance and templates from the Department of Education and Skills on school reorganisation and divestment.
At the INTO Congress today in Galway, primary teachers called upon the Minister for Education and Skills to engage with them to put in place agreed templates and guidance to be used by schools when being reorganised and/or divested.
At present, when a school is being reorganised e.g. into a junior/senior school or being amalgamated or divested, there is no official process or guidelines from the Department of Education and Skills.
Teachers are seeking clarity in the form of guidelines to prevent the uncertainty that can surround school reorganisation: how it is initiated and progressed, where staff will be based, what their rights are and how and when the reorganisation is to occur.
INTO members, who have been advocates for the divestment of schools for a number of years, welcomed the fact that the Department have initiated a consultation process with a number of schools around the country, however, they warned that to ensure a smooth transition in the event of a school divestment, schools need accessible templates and clear guidance.
Vincent Duffy, of the Central Executive Committee spoke about the difficult experiences of schools in his area, “The various partners in education, CPSMA, school patrons, Department of Education and Skills have literally done the Pontius Pilate on the whole issue of school closures, and in many cases it has been death by 1,000 cuts.”
A total of 55 amalgamations have taken place from 2013 to date. Amalgamations can be contested and controversial as small schools close – teachers and communities deserve to have access to clear procedural guidelines around this sensitive issue.