Athenry school chosen for substitute teachers pilot scheme

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Scoil Croí Naofa in Athenry has been chosen as one of six schools for a pilot project to ease the shortage of primary school substitute teachers.

Minister for Education Joe McHugh announced this week the creation of six panels to provide a reliable supply of substitute teachers for clusters of school nationwide.

Up to 18 teachers hired on a full time contract operating out of base school, in Galway this is Scoil Croi Naofa.

From there the substitute teachers will serve a cluster of roughly 15 schools in county Galway when they need coverage.

Minister McHugh first announced this pilot initiative at the annual conference of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) last January.

“My ambition to see substitute teacher supply panels set up on a regional basis was in direct response to the staffing difficulties I’ve heard about from teachers, principals and management bodies in primary schools,” the Minister says.

“It is about trying to find clever and efficient ways of giving a qualified teacher security of work and ensuring they fill as many vacancies across a number of schools.”

This was now possible the Minister added, because of better of use of technology that allows schools to work together more closely.

The supply panels focus on Dublin, Galway and Cork and the commuter belts in Kildare and Meath.

The Department of Education said that the areas were selected based on data which demonstrates they have the highest levels of unmet substitute cover in the country.

The other five schools hosting the supply panels are Gaelscoil an Ghoirt Alainn, Montenotte, Cork; Scoil Bhríde, Leixlip, Co Kildare; Ard Rí CNS, Navan, Co Meath; St David’s NS, Artane, Dublin 5; and Presentation Primary School, Terenure, Dublin 6W.

“The schools in the cluster should work together to get the best from this initiative,” Minister McHugh added.

“The schools are being given an additional resource and I want to see it become an effective solution to the challenges being faced.”