Congress Resolutions

Pay Equality

Congress:

(a)  acknowledges the CEC’s ongoing commitment to restoring pay equality for all members;

(b) demands that the CEC continues to negotiate a clear pathway which will achieve pay equality for all members;

(c)  reiterates that the INTO’s first priority in pay negotiations is pay equalisation especially to redress the position of the cohorts of entrants in the years 2011-2014, where new entrant pay changes had particular impact;

(d) condemns the State’s failure to commit to payment of the outstanding pay parity award for principals and deputy principals and other third-party awards and demands that these outstanding awards be paid as a matter of priority;

(e)  recognises that teachers require a general pay increase and demands that such an award be made under the next pay agreement;

(f)  further demands:

  1. early discussions to examine the adequacy of current pay arrangements in regard to proposals in the Public Service Pay Commission Report of August 2018; and
  2. an immediate return to the norms of collective bargaining and industrial relations processes, to replace the current prevalence of unacceptable legislative sanctions and penalties.

Pensions

In light of the substantial decline in pension arrangements since 2004, especially in recent years, both North and South, Congress:

(a)  deplores in particular the substantial reduction in pension benefit for teachers taking up employment following the introduction of a career average system for calculating pensions in January 2013 (ROI) and April 2015 (NI);

(b) further deplores that retirees in receipt of a coordinated pension are treated less favourably than retirees in receipt of an uncoordinated pension;

(c)  demands that all service previously given by qualified teachers in substitute or temporary positions be recognised for pension and incremental pay purposes;

(d) instructs the CEC to devise a strategy for both reversing reductions in entitlements and preventing any further diminution of benefits; and

(e)  directs the CEC to propose that the ICTU convene a major national forum to address the issues surrounding pensions and to ensure access to schemes that will provide an adequate pension in retirement for all workers, in the public and private sector.

Leadership

Congress:

(a) instructs the CEC to highlight and prioritise the issue of principals’ and deputy principals’ terms and conditions of employment;

(b) reiterates the leadership resolution of Congress 2018;

(c)  condemns the failure of the PSSA to fully address the Issue of the 2008 pay award to principals and deputy principals, particularly in the context of Increasing workload for principal teachers;

(d) demands that the issue of increased pay for school leaders be dealt with by the next public service pay agreement;

(e)  further demands that:

  1. all school staff be included in the calculation of the allowance payable to principals and deputy principals;
  2. the threshold for the appointment of administrative deputy principals be reduced to 16 mainstream class teachers;
  3. provision be made for release time for all post holders;
  4. all teaching principals be allocated a minimum of one release day per week;
  5. all principals be paid the appropriate allowance as secretary to the board of management;
  6. an Increase In administrative support for boards of management to enable them to carry out their duties;
  7. INTO research and explore the cost of implementing a step down facility for principal teachers as recommended in the INTO Report on Teacher Workload and Work-Related Stress (2015); and

(f)  calls on the CEC to use all means possible, up to and including industrial action, to achieve these demands.

Workload

Congress:

(a) deplores the incessant bombardment of new initiatives/procedures/frameworks/ strategies being foisted upon all primary schools;

(b) notes the motion passed at Congress 2018 regarding:

  1. ever expanding list of initiatives;
  2. teacher workload;
  3. ongoing under-resourced curricular changes;
  4. the teaching and learning in schools;

(c)  demands that the CEC inform the DES of the detrimental effect these are having on:

  1. the mental health and wellbeing of those involved in teaching;
  2. that the progress of the independent study into teacher workload, as agreed at Congress 2018 be published as soon as practicable; and

(d)  further demands:

  1. a reduction in initiatives which impose extra, unacceptable workload upon schools.

Reproductive Health

Congress:

(a) acknowledges the work done to date by the Equality Committee to gather evidence of members’ reproductive health related issues as they interact with their work and their current leave entitlements;

(b) calls on the CEC to:

  1. evaluate the evidence of members’ reproductive health issues as they Interact with their work and their current leave entitlements;
  2. investigate best practice in other jurisdictions;
  3. draft a Statutory Leave for Reproductive Health Related Matters Scheme for Teachers proposal, that would include miscarriage or threatened miscarriage regardless of term, ectopic pregnancy, fertility screening, fertility treatment and other reproductive health related matters;
  4. seek support from other unions and reproductive health related organisations and bodies for such a scheme;
  5. open negotiations with the relevant government department to realise the Statutory Leave for Reproductive Health Related Matters Scheme for Teachers; and
  6. report to Congress 2020 on progress made to realise this Congress resolution.

SEN

Congress:

(a) notes that an annual mechanism exists to report school leavers, who have a SEN diagnosis, to the NCSE;

(b) demands that a similar annual mechanism be established to report new SEN diagnoses and other identified learning, emotional, social, behavioural, language and sensory difficulties as referred to in Circular 13/2017 to the NCSE, to ensure that schools receive their correct SEN teacher allocation and instructs the CEC to enter into negotiations with the DES and NCSE with a view to agreeing such a mechanism;

(c) further notes that a mental health issue is a special educational need under the EPSEN Act (2004);

(d) deplores the lack of timely assessment and admission of children in distress by HSE Primary Care, CAMHS, Assessment of Need, HSE Early Intervention Team and HSE School Age Team;

(e) further demands that:

  1. the union actively liase with DES, HSE, NCSE, NEPS, CAMHS and other relevant bodies to decrease waiting lists for assessment and significantly improve access to appropriate therapies; and
  2. schools are provided with sufficient specialised services for children presenting with mental health Issues to meet their ongoing needs.

Class Size

Congress:

(a) notes that class size in Irish primary schools continues to be well above international averages, specifically table 1 in the OECD report “Education at a Glance 2018” which shows average class size in Ireland at 25 with an OECD average of 21 and an EU average of 20 pupils;

(b) reaffirms that reducing class size is a priority for the INTO;

(c) further notes that in the light of falling enrolments in primary schools from 2019 onwards it is possible to reduce class size with minimal or no additional cost to the State;

(d) believes that it is essential for educational reasons to reduce class sizes but also to ensure that student teachers currently in college have realistic employment opportunities on qualification;

(e) demands that the Minister for Education and Skills and the Government commit to reducing primary school class sizes to the EU average within the coming five years by way of annual revision of the staffing schedules;

(f) condemns the:

  1. failure to reduce class size in DEIS schools in recent revisions of staffing schedules and demands that the preferential class size provisions for such schools be restored and maintained;
  2. exclusion of INTO from the Steering Group on Teacher Supply, and its associated bodies, established under the Department of Education and Skill

(g) instructs the CEC to negotiate with the DES for the establishment of regional supply panels to cover all approved absences and approved release times from classroom duties; and

(d) further demands that the Minister and the DES, in planning teachers supply, also ensure that maximum employment flexibilities are in place in order to facilitate teachers who require such flexibilities and in order to enhance job opportunities for graduating student teachers.

School Funding

Congress:

(a) notes the failure of the current capitation model to meet the most basic needs of schools;

(b) reiterates its demand that capitation per primary school pupil be raised to €296 as is paid to voluntary secondary schools;

(c) Rejects the DES Excellence Funds Scheme as a funding model;

(d) calls on the CEC to negotiate for:

  1. the additional capitation grant payable to pupils enrolled In special classes also be paid in respect of pupils with diagnosed special educational needs enrolled in mainstream classes;
  2. the size of the premises be taken into account as well as the number of pupils attending, in order to allow school buildings to be run adequately;
  3. the payment of grants to be in line with the academic year and/or termly instalments to allow for clear financial planning and budgeting;
  4. the Minor Works Grant to become a permanent fixture in the annual school grants calendar;
  5. the ending of the practice of paying non­teaching staff, such as school secretaries and caretakers through BOMs, and the establishment of civil service grades for such employees to be paid directly by the DES;
  6. the removal of the cap of 500 pupils for the payment of the ancillary services grant;
  7. an adequate annual ICT grant to protect the investment made by the DES in schools’ technological infrastructures be paid to schools.

DEIS

Congress:

(a)  condemns the utter lack of progress made by the DEIS Review Group;

(b) notes that the successive improvements made to the general staffing schedules since 2016 did not apply pro-rata in DEIS schools;

(c) demands:

  1. that the DEIS Review Group addresses all elements listed in the Congress resolution of 2016;
  2. the roll out of DEIS for schools be transparent and directly in line with current data on disadvantage as per Census 2016;
  3. that the School Completion Programme be placed back under the auspices of the DES;

(d) further demands that the original urban Breaking the Cycle schools retain a maximum class size of 15:1 in infant to second classes; and a maximum class size of 18 pupils be introduced in senior classes; and

(e) instructs the CEC to instigate a public campaign by September 2019, along with other vested parties, to highlight the impact of social inequality within our schools.

Small Schools

Congress:

(a) demands that the:

  1. CEC negotiates with the DES to ensure that all primary schools are staffed with a minimum of two full-time classroom teachers;
  2. appointment figures for schools of P+2 and P+3 mainstream classroom teachers (MCTs) be returned to 49 and 81 respectively on the primary staffing schedule;
  3. substantial additional supervision hours carried out by teachers in two-teacher schools be fully recognised and remunerated in addition to the current supervision restoration deal; and

(b) recognises the particular challenges to the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing of the teachers in these small schools.

Assault

Congress:

(a) notes with concern the results of the Education Trade Union Group of the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Survey in relation to levels of Violence in schools, published on 20 March 2019;

(b) further notes the growing number of assaults, both verbal and physical, by pupils and parents on teachers which go unreported across the school system;

(c) welcomes the zero-tolerance approach to assaults on workers in other public service workplaces; and

(d) calls on the CEC and Northern Committee to work with those unions involved in the education sector along with the employing authorities in both jurisdictions, to establish, through agreed and robust procedures, a zero-tolerance policy on assaults in schools to protect all workers in schools across this island.

Substitute Cover

Congress demands that substitute cover be provided for all approved teacher absences.

School Reorganisation

Congress demands that the Minister for Education and Skills consult with the education partners, at an early date, in order to put in place agreed templates and guidelines, to assist in the process of planning for, consultation about, and implementation where appropriate, of school reorganisation, to include reorganisation of vertical schools to become junior/senior schools, amalgamations and divesting.

HSCL

Congress:
(a)  notes with concern the changes being imposed on School Completion Projects and the changes being imposed on the role of HSCL teachers by TUSLA EWS;

(b)  rejects the TUSLA EWS SCP Intake Framework as unworkable and unnecessary;

(c)  affirms the role of principals in the allocation of personnel to all positions, including HSCL;

(d)  notes the decrease in time allocated by HSCLs to home visits and the increase in time allocated to paperwork and administrative duties as outlined in Partnership in DEIS schools: a survey of home-school-community liaison coordinators in primary and post-primary schools in Ireland (2018); and

(e)  calls on the CEC to:

  1. consult with TUSLA EWS, principals and HSCLs to develop an alternative Intake Framework that is acceptable to principals and HSCL teachers;
  2. demand that the management of HSCL be restored to the BOM; and
  3. negotiate for the lifting of the five-year limit on teachers working as HSCL thereby returning the autonomy of the principal to allocate duties within their own school.

Special Education

Congress:

(a)  acknowledges the strong contribution of primary teachers to the education of children with special educational needs across the continuum of special schools, special classes and mainstream schools;

(b)  demands, in order to support schools with the additional workload associated with the organisation of provision for pupils with special educational needs:

  1. a reduction in the number of teachers required in special schools from 15 to 10 to appoint an administrative deputy principal;
  2. an additional 20 release days per annum for teaching principals in schools with special classes;
  3. the restoration of posts of responsibility to enable schools to allocate a teacher with responsibility for the coordination of support for children with special educational needs at school level;
  4. the provision of therapy supports to all pupils requiring such support, regardless of whether pupils attend special or mainstream schools;
  5. provision of a comprehensive programme of professional development and learning in special education for all teachers throughout their careers;
  6. that teachers with qualifications and expertise in special education be appointed to the NCSE Regional Support Service for Inclusion to provide support, advice and professional development and guidance for teachers in both special and mainstream schools;
  7. the provision of guidelines regarding challenging behaviour and physical restraint, to support teachers to respond to and prevent crisis situations; and

(c)  calls on the DES and the NCSE to enter into discussions with the INTO regarding the definition of Complex Special Educational Needs.