28th October 2021
Following intensive engagement between the INTO and the Department of Education, an information note (English & Gaeilge) on substitution has been issued today. The INTO welcomes the further expansion and fine-tuning of the operation of the Supply Panel Scheme, and the 100 extra fixed-term teaching posts to be added to the scheme.
We further welcome the Department’s adoption of our request that late applications be accepted for the formation of principals’ release day clusters. This measure aims to ensure that the one leadership and management day per week, negotiated by the INTO for teaching principals, can be covered consistently by fully qualified substitutes. We strongly encourage remaining groups of five teaching principals to form local clusters.
The union also welcomes the decision to allow teachers who are currently job-sharing to carry out substitution in schools other than their own base schools. The INTO has received an assurance from the Department of Education that they will continue to work with the union and other primary and special education stakeholders with a view to alleviating the pressures regarding substitution.
As we set out over the last number of weeks, the INTO remains concerned about the level of infection among 5-12-year-old children and the number of school outbreaks. We will continue to press the Department of Education and public health officials to ensure that appropriate measures, advice, supports, and guidance are made available to everyone in our primary and special school communities.
The Department of Education has clarified that staff in both primary and special schools will continue to wear face coverings after the Halloween break, and we encourage our members to do so.
The Department has agreed to further consult with the union on guidance around school events, meetings, and extra-curricular activities.
At a recent meeting between education unions, school management and Department of Education officials, the INTO reiterated our position that more needs to be done to inform everyone in school communities of their responsibility to stay away from schools when symptomatic. We continue to insist that a proactive campaign by government incorporating key public health messages for the education sector is urgently needed.