CONGRESS 2023 – Resolutions (Public Session)
| Substitution / substitute teachers
Congress demands full substitute cover for all approved teacher absences.
a. notes the unprecedented and ever- increasing demands and workload pressures on teachers and school leaders;
b. deplores the impact of these demands and workload pressures on members’ health, well-being and quality of life;
c. further notes the difficulties associated with the recruitment and retention of principals;
d. considers the workload problem for teachers and school leaders to be at crisis level; and
e. calls on the CEC to take whatever actions necessary, up to and including directives and industrial action, to resolve the workload problem as a matter of urgency.
| Class Size
Congress demands a reduction in class size in line with the OECD average.
a. notes the Single Public Service Pension Scheme for all post-2013 entrants is a pension scheme based on a career average earnings model and this will result in a much lower lump-sum and annual pension for all teachers in the scheme compared to previous pension schemes;
1. the CEC establish a taskforce on pensions to set out the entitlements of a teacher on the post-2013 pension;
2. the taskforce on pensions deliver a report to Congress 2024; and
3. the CEC issue an awareness campaign on pensions to teachers and student teachers using the information garnered; and
4. the CEC work with other public sector unions to improve the terms and conditions of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme for all its members.
| School Leadership
Congress calls on the CEC to:
a. negotiate with the Department of Education to demand:
1. proper administrative supports for school leaders, including secretarial support and support for building projects;
2. the full restoration of posts of responsibility and the appointment of administrative deputy principals in all special schools and in all other schools on the same basis as in post-primary schools.
b. seek a timeframe in which the full restoration of posts to pre-2008 levels will be completed;
c. ballot on industrial action in 2024 if no provision is made for this in Budget 2024;
d. further negotiate with the Department of Education to demand that all staff members are counted for the purpose of calculating principals’ and deputy principals’ allowances; and
e. request that a proper and dignified mechanism for stepping down from the role of principal be developed and implemented by the Department of Education.
| DEIS / DISADVANTAGE
a. notes the importance of the contribution of the DEIS scheme in closing the gap between educational outcomes of pupils living in disadvantaged and non- disadvantaged areas;
b. welcomes the recent expansion of DEIS to include additional primary schools into the scheme;
c. recognises the unique challenges faced by school staff working in DEIS primary schools; and
d. instructs the CEC to campaign for:
1. an increase of funding for the School Completion Programme;
2. the provision of clinical supervision supports for teachers working as Home School Community Liaisons and other teachers working with vulnerable people in our DEIS schools;
3. fully resourced and staffed nurture rooms in our most disadvantaged schools; and
4. a maximum class size of 15:1 in junior classes and 18:1 in senior classes in our most disadvantaged schools.
| Parental Leave
a. demands that the CEC seek a revision of the current parental leave scheme as outlined in Circular 0054/2019 and that such a revision:
1. allows greater flexibility when taking parental leave and affords teachers the opportunity to take parental leave in the form of individual days or in less than a seven day period;
2. waives the requirement for six weeks’ notice in exceptional circumstances when applying for parental leave;
3. allows parental leave to be taken for all children up to the age of sixteen instead of the current age of twelve;
4. increases the amount of parental leave available to sole parents to equal that of two parent families; and
b. further demands that supply panels of substitute teachers be enhanced and expanded to provide substitute cover for all parental leave absences.
| Assessment of Need (AON)
a. condemns the extra workload imposed on principals and school SET teams as a result of being asked to complete the AON process;
b. demands that if schools are to complete this process the necessary supports must be promptly put in place;
c. asserts that teachers are unqualified to assess pupils for speech and language difficulties, occupational therapy difficulties, or psychological needs;
d. instructs the CEC to actively liaise with the NCSE to:
1. demand that teachers’ input into an AON is from an educational perspective only; and
2. clarify that this input should not replace that given by professionals such as occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychologists.
| Primary Curriculum
a. is concerned about the increased workload for teachers as a result of the many curricular changes that are due to be rolled out over the coming years including the new Primary Curriculum and a new Maths Curriculum;
b. demands that the Department of Education and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment provide the necessary resources to support this curricular change as a matter of urgency including a comprehensive and robust communications strategy with schools and other relevant stakeholders to commence immediately;
c. asserts that time is required to embed the Primary Language Curriculum before introducing another curriculum or initiative; and
d. further demands that the implementation of future curricula and initiatives would only take place after a comprehensive roll out of CPD for all teachers.
| Menopause / reproductive health
a. notes the research carried out by the INTO Equality Committee in 2022 which found that:
1. 43% of respondents had difficulty managing work and the menopause;
2. 64% of respondents believed that there was a stigma attached to the topic;
3. 79% of respondents agreed that they would be in favour of a workplace policy on menopause; and
4. acknowledges that with a predominantly female workforce in teaching, there are a significant number of INTO members who are experiencing menopausal transition.
b. welcomes the commitment of the INTO to raising awareness of menopause in the workplace as demonstrated at the Equality Conference in 2023; and
c. calls on the CEC to:
1. continue to raise awareness of the challenges of menopause in schools,
2. provide supports and information resources to teachers in schools who are experiencing menopausal transition, and
3. liaise with external agencies to progress the issue of menopause in the workplace such as ICTU Women’s Committee and National Women’s Council.
| Shared Island – Education
a. notes the establishment by the Irish Government of the Shared Island initiative which aims to harness the full potential of the Good Friday Agreement to enhance cooperation, connection and mutual understanding on the island of Ireland and engage with all communities and traditions to build consensus around a shared future;
b. acknowledges the challenges and opportunities for education on the island of Ireland which are outlined in the Economic and Social Research Institute report A North-South Comparison of Education and Training Systems: Lessons for Policy;
c. calls for the setting up of a Shared Island Dialogue or forum on education; and
d. further calls on the CEC to examine how cooperation between the education systems north and south can work more effectively, in areas such as special education, early school leaving and socioeconomic disadvantage.
| Teacher Supply
a. condemns the disruption to schools and children’s education caused by the failure of government to adequately plan for and provide for the necessary supply of teachers for primary and special education settings;
b. reiterates the INTO position that every child should be taught by a qualified teacher every school day, including by substitution on every occasion when their own teacher is absent;
c. maintains that fully staffed supply panels nationwide are the solution to meeting short term substitution needs;
d. demands that the Department of Education:
1. adopts a realistic approach to teacher workforce planning,
2. increases the number of primary teacher education places in the state funded higher education institutions, and
3. works with the Teaching Council to reduce the bureaucracy and delays associated with registration and induction;
e. calls on the Department of Education to engage with education stakeholders to:
1. explore ways to attract and support teachers to work in rent-pressure areas and areas of high teacher demand and turnover,
2. promote diversity in the teaching profession, and
3. 3. incentivise teachers currently working outside Ireland to take up employment in Ireland.
| Bereavement Leave
a. welcomes the improved bereavement leave entitlements of teachers for “immediate family members” from Circular Letter 0078/2022;
b. notes the negative effect this new Circular has on teacher’s leave for “Other Immediate Relative”, in comparison to “Near relative” in Circular 0032/2007; and
c. urges the CEC to engage with the Government on this matter; in order to restore the “Near Relative” definition for teachers for bereavement leave and wedding leave.
| Special Education
a. notes with concern the continued transference of responsibility and workload from the NCSE to schools;
1. that an immediate review of current obligations on schools takes place with regard to the increase in workload and legal responsibility;
2. that schools are given appropriate resources, funding and training in order to carry out those responsibilities that are deemed necessary;
c. condemns the inordinate amount of time taken by NCSE to complete the process of exceptional review and subsequent appeals process for special educational needs provision in schools;
d. instructs the CEC to inform the Department of Education and the NCSE that INTO:
1. opposes the introduction of a new model for the allocation of SNAs to schools, and
2. demands that new care needs will continue to be allocated additional SNA support without the need for an exceptional review.
e. further demands an annual publication of the number of applications from schools seeking an exceptional review and the success rate of these applications.
| Reproductive Leave
a. commends the work done to date by the INTO, in particular the Equality Committee, on reproductive health matters for members;
b. demands that:
1. pregnancy related sick leave be discounted from a member’s sick leave record;
2. leave relating to miscarriage be included in pregnancy related leave;
3. reproductive health appointments on Fridays and Mondays be counted as individual absences, rather than four consecutive absences; and
4. partners be able to avail of the same leave entitlements for miscarriage and reproductive health appointments.
| Affordable Housing
a. recognises that policies pursued by successive governments have failed to ensure access to affordable housing and accommodation for the people of the country, including immigrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees;
b. further recognises that this has resulted in:
1. teachers, particularly in urban areas, not being able to source or afford adequate accommodation thereby contributing to the teacher supply crisis;
2. pupils and their families living in inadequate and sub-standard accommodation thereby directly impacting on their ability to fully participate in the education system;
c. commends the CEC for the INTO’s support of the ICTU Raise The Roof campaign;
d. instructs the CEC to step up our involvement in this campaign by:
1. adapting some of the ICTU campaigning literature to be more teacher/school/education/focused;
2. organising a series of meetings in schools or school clusters and/or at branch level to explain and discuss the alternative models of housing provision being proposed in the Raise The Roof manifesto;
3. highlighting and publicising the call for a referendum to enshrine the Right to Housing in the Constitution; and
4. raising at ICTU level a proposal for a Raise The Roof demonstration to be organised via a work stoppage and that all unions make the necessary arrangements to ballot for this proposed industrial action.
| Long COVID Sick Leave
a. calls on the CEC to negotiate an amendment to sick leave entitlements to include a new category for long COVID sick leave with full pay; and
b. demands that the INTO negotiate with Cornmarket to include long COVID illness in the specified illness benefits of the Salary Protection Scheme.
Congress 2023 – Resolutions (Private Session)
| Rule Change – Charity / Donations Fund
the income of the Charity/Donations Fund shall consist of:
1. the appropriate portion of the member’s subscriptions allocated to the fund; and
2. other income and refunds appropriate to this fund.
the fund shall be used to provide support to charities and other organisations as decided by the CEC, in accordance with guidelines set out by them.
Congress declares that:
a. the rate of INTO subscription in the Republic of Ireland under Rule 78 shall be 0.756% of salary and academic allowances;
b. the amount paid in subscription shall be capped at the amount equivalent to 0.756% of point 11 of the salary scale for teachers appointed on or after 1 January 2011;
c. the subscription shall be allocated among the funds of the Organisation as follows:
General fund 41.322%
Publications fund 7.95%
– General publications 7.690%
– InTouch magazine 0.260%
Contingencies fund 6.390%
Superannuation fund 11.591%
Branches and districts fund 15.641%
Equalization fund 0.037%
Branches ICT 0.817%
Professional development unit 1.189%
Benevolent fund 2.043%
Solidarity fund 1.226%
Political fund 0.111%
Capital fund 5.758%
Training fund 4.458%
Charity/donations fund 1.465%
d. the CEC is empowered to sanction the commencement of the above provisions at a time, but not before 1 June 2023.
a. notes inflation for 2021 was 2.4%, while our pay increased by 1% and inflation for 2022 is just under 8%, while our pay increased by 5% for members;
b. acknowledges the additional financial pressures experienced by teachers due to the recent cost of living and housing crises;
c. asserts that it is not acceptable for members living standards to be eroded by inflation on an ongoing basis and that a guiding principle for pay negotiations must be that members be compensated for rising inflation;
d. recognises the ongoing extortionate accommodation costs in our cities which has further accelerated in recent years, leading to urban schools not being able to recruit and retain teachers; and
e. instructs the CEC to negotiate with the Department of Education for an allowance for teachers similar to the ‘London Weighting Allowance’ to compensate for higher living costs in cities.
| Physical Aggression
a. demands that the INTO do research amongst INTO members to ascertain the actual levels of physical aggression to which primary teachers are exposed, in both special schools, special classes in mainstream schools and in mainstream classes; and
b. further demands that the CEC engage with our partners in education to create a set of practical guidelines for teachers, principals and boards of management which would be implemented when a primary teacher is subjected to physical aggression. These guidelines will include the steps that should be taken by the principal and the board of management when a teacher is hurt by a pupil, in any way, in the course of their work.
a. welcomes the timely review of the RSE curriculum which forms part of the Department of Education’s statutory guidance;
b. notes the importance of defending and progressing LGBTQ+ rights in primary schools;
c. further notes the inspiring work of INTO’s LGBTQ+ group in championing equality in the workplace; and
d. demands comprehensive training and guidance to educate and support grassroot members to create an inclusive and empowering classroom culture incorporating essential terms, inclusive pronoun use and facilitation of conversations of identity with care.
| Communication with CPSMA
a. condemns the recent comments made by representatives of the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA) to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration, and Youth in relation to teaching gender identity in schools;
b. instructs the CEC to communicate this condemnation, in writing, to the CPSMA; and
c. further instructs the CEC to inform the membership of this communication.
| Human Rights
a. deplores the manner in which human rights, especially those of girls and women, have come under attack in many countries over the past year;
b. deplores in particular the manner in which access to education has been made more difficult:
1. in Afghanistan through the closure of secondary schools and universities to female students;
2. in Palestine through the demolition of schools by the Israeli authorities;
3. in Iran through regime attacks on schools and arrests and assaults on students and teachers;
4. in Ukraine as a result of the horrific Russian invasion; and
5. in Sub-Saharan Africa and many countries as a result of the continuing scandal of child labour;
6. the actions of human rights defenders and trade union leaders across the world who have been to the fore in resisting these atrocities;
7. the work of Education International in continuing to highlight these issues, and
d. instructs the CEC to continue to advocate with ever greater urgency for the rights of every person, nationally and internationally, to access a complete education.