Half of secondary schools have unfilled vacancies

It turns out that devaluing the teachers' work has an impact.

There are unfilled vacancies in more than half of all second-level schools, according to a new survey by RED C/ASTI.

The survey, undertaken in March, showed that 84% of school principals have experienced situations during this school year where no teacher applied for an advertised post and that 55% said they currently have unfilled vacancies.

The principals identified a number of factors which they believe are impacting on teacher shortages, including inadequate numbers graduating in certain subjects, the high cost of the two-year Professional Master of Education, and the decline in the attractiveness of teaching.

“We are seeing the fruits of a short-sighted government decision to de-value the work of teachers. Teaching is not sufficiently attractive anymore, largely due to demoralising unequal pay,” said ASTI president Eamon Dennehy.

“Ireland is fortunate to have a high performing education system, but are we are at a critical point. The Government must act now to end unequal pay and address recruitment and retention difficulties in schools. You cannot value education if you do not value teachers.”

Over a third (34%) of classroom teachers rated their wellbeing as poor. The teachers identified workload and work intensity as the main factors impacting their wellbeing. Job satisfaction amongst teachers dropped from 63% in 2021 to 50% in 2022.