31st January 2023
This page was updated 1 Feb 2023
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has continuously engaged with the Department of Education in recent months, seeking swift publication of the staffing circular prior to the end of January. We welcome today’s timely announcement by the department, with the publication of Circular 006/2023 Staffing Arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2023/24 school year.
Circular 006/2023 confirms a further reduction in the primary staffing schedule by one point bringing class sizes to an average of 23 in mainstream classes, with lower thresholds applying in DEIS Band 1 schools. The reduction in class sizes is a testament to the grassroots campaign by members prior to Budget 2023. As a result of this measure, 370 mainstream teachers will be appointed.
While we acknowledge the commitments made by the Minister for Education, now is the time for Government to commit to delivering the EU average of 20 pupils per class by securing the fourth successive reduction in primary class sizes in the next Budget.
This circular is an early signal that we hope to secure the third successive reduction in primary class sizes next September, and while we acknowledge the commitments made by the Minister for Education in this respect, now is the time to accelerate the lowering of class sizes to ensure we deliver the EU average of 20 pupils per class.
Contracts of Indefinite Duration (CID)
It is important to note that the key date identified in the new Staffing Circular of 23 February 2023, does not apply as a deadline for receipt of applications for CID by the DE.
The INTO advises that applications should be made in a timely manner, once all relevant information is available and confirmed, which can be after the 23 February 2023 in certain circumstances.
The INTO queryline has seen an increased volume of queries in relation to CIDs. In the first instance, the INTO advises members with queries in relation to this CIDs to consult with our dedicated CID information webpage.
Special Education Teacher posts
When the Special Education Teacher (SET) allocations were issued in 2022, schools were advised that any SET clusters formed would remain in place until the next review of the allocation. Therefore, existing SET clusters will remain unchanged for the 2023/24 school year. Schools with a balance of Special Education hours additional to the full posts are advised that they have a period until Thursday 23 February 2023 to enter into a cluster arrangement to achieve a full-time permanent post (25 hours) through sharing arrangements with other neighbouring schools.
Supports for Teaching Principals
Circular 006/2023 also confirms the retention of one leadership and management day a week, secured by this union for every teaching principal. Schools with one special class will have four additional release days in the 2023/24 school year. This scheme has proven to be successful in supporting teaching principals with an increased workload, while ensuring consistent access to a teacher for their class. Clusters for the 2022/2023 school year will remain in place unless one or more of the schools in the cluster has attained administrative principal status.
Substitute teacher supply panels
The continuation of the substitute teacher supply panel scheme is welcome. This union firmly believes that the scheme provides vital support to schools for short-term absences, and we call for the scheme to be extended to cover all primary and special schools.
This year there are currently 151 supply panels currently covering 2,850 schools with 610 teaching posts allocated.
It is important that all schools participate in the redeployment process to ensure that teachers are redeployed as early as possible.
Members should note Thursday, 23 February 2023 as a key date for staffing arrangements in primary schools for the 2023/24 school year.
By Thursday, 23 February 2023, teachers and schools should:
- Notify the relevant Panel Operator of any permanent or fixed-term vacancy;
- Return Main Redeployment Panel Application Form (Appendix E) for surplus permanent/CID holding teachers to the Department’s Primary Teacher Allocations Section;
- Return Form S.ET cluster 2023/24 (Appendix D) to the Department’s Primary Teacher Allocations Section to notify the DE of new Special Education Teacher cluster arrangements;
- Return CID Declaration Form 23 (Appendix G) in respect of all teachers awarded a CID in or before the 2022/23 school year and a Main Panel Application Form, if applicable, to the Department’s Primary Teacher Allocations Section;
- Submit completed Staffing Appeals Form (Appendix F) for the next meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board to the Department’s Primary Teacher Allocations Section; and
- Submit applications for Principal Release Day clusters.
The Main Redeployment Panels are expected to be published the week beginning 20 March 2023 for schools to appoint teachers from the panels to vacancies.
The INTO will host a webinar for members on the Main Panel on Wednesday, 8 February at 3:15pm. The webinar will cover a number of topics on the issue of redeployment, including applying for the panel, deferrals and offers. To register for the webinar, click here.
Key documents in respect of Circular 006/2023:
- Circular 006/2023 – Staffing arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2023/24 school year
- Circular 006/2023 FAQs – Staffing arrangements in Primary Schools for the 2023/24 school year
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix A – Schedule of Enrolment of Pupils Governing the Appointment and Retention of Mainstream Class Teachers in Ordinary Schools, Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht National Schools for the 2023/24 school year
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix B – Enrolments required for Administrative Principal status and Administrative Deputy Principal status in Ordinary Schools, Gaelscoileanna and Gaeltacht National Schools for the 2023/24 school year
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix C – SEN allocations
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix D – Special Education Teacher Post (Shared) 2023/24
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix E – Application Form for Permanent/CID Holding Teachers’ Access to the Main Redeployment Panel for the 2023/24 school year
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix F – Application to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board for the 2023/24 School Year
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix G – Declaration by a school for the 2023/24 school year where a teacher has acquired a CID under Part A1 or A2 of Circular 0023/2015
- Circular 006/2023 Appendix H – Application for department sanction for the award to a teacher, of a contract of indefinite duration (CID) in the 2023/24 school year in accordance with Circular 0023/2015