Teachers debate recruitment and Leaving Cert reform at union conferences

Teachers Debate Recruitment And Leaving Cert Reform At Union Conferences
It has been proposed that the first of the two papers in the Leaving Cert English and Irish exams could be taken by students in 5th Year. Photo: PA Images
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Muireann Duffy

Teacher unions are holding their annual conferences this week, with changes to the Leaving Certificate and ongoing recruitment and retention issues among the topics being discussed.

Members of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) are gathering in Cork for a three-day conference and are discussing staffing issues following a recent survey which found four in 10 teachers do not believe they will still be in the profession in 10 years' time.


With student numbers projected to further expand over the coming years, particularly at secondary level, teacher shortages are an area of ongoing concern for schools.

Last month, the Department of Education confirmed 610 primary teacher training places will be added for 2023/2024, however, the shortages are being exasperated by the number of Irish teachers choosing to work overseas upon qualification.

Meanwhile, the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) is also holding its annual conference this week.

The union's members are meeting in Wexford, where they are "vehemently opposing" proposals to change the current Leaving Cert model.

If approved, the changes would see students sit English and Irish Paper One in 5th Year.

A motion calling for the plans to be scrapped was unanimously passed by ASTI members at the conference.

Minister for Education Norma Foley and Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris are due to speak at the conferences.

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