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Primary teachers head to the polls three times this month 17/02/16

Primary teachers head to the polls three times this month

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Press Release
Sheila Nunan
General Secretary
Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

Primary teachers head to the polls three times this month


Primary teachers will be asked to cast ballots three times in as many weeks.

Along with the rest of the country teachers will cast their votes in the general election. The following week members of the INTO will cast their ballots in a vote on industrial action on the promotion ban in schools and increasing workload. Finally every primary teacher will be asked to vote in a ballot to elect a new Teaching Council to regulate the profession. The INTO has a view on all three elections.

In the general election the union is urging its members to vote for candidates who support the INTO’s Stand up for primary education campaign.

This campaign identifies key issues for teachers and the primary education system in the near future. These include pay equalisation, class size and school staffing, the public service pension levy, principal teachers, the lack of promotion in schools, teachers’ salaries, supports for children in primary schools, school funding and school computing.

According to the INTO the quality of Irish teachers is second to none. “Irish teachers work longer, teach more children and deliver better outcomes than colleagues in other countries,” said INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan. “Irish primary teachers are let down by key infrastructure and systems failures that need to be tackled in the coming years.”

In the ballot on industrial action teachers are being urged to vote yes by the union’s executive which called the ballot. If successful the union leadership will issue a directive to its members on non-cooperation with the Department of Education’s programme of school self-evaluation. The proposed action is a response to the continued ban on promotion in schools and the increasing workload of members.

“We have looked for an end to the ban on promotions that’s in place since 2009,” said Ms Nunan. “To date, the Department has not responded positively to this demand.”

She said the continued ban on promotions affects everyone in schools. “Unpromoted teachers are being denied opportunities for promotion, already promoted teachers are doing additional work because of the ban and most principals are trying to run a modern school without a full in-school management team.”

“That’s why we want all members to support this action with a YES vote,” she said.

Finally, primary teachers will be asked to vote for union endorsed candidates in the Teaching Council elections. The INTO has endorsed 16 candidates in this election who have sought union backing in their electoral areas.

“The union urges all members to vote for INTO endorsed candidates,” said Ms Nunan, “to ensure a strong and united voice for primary teachers on the new Council.”