Fears that amalgamation of schools will mean job losses

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

A TEACHERS’ union is demanding that any loss of teaching hours or posts is “absolutely minimised” when three schools are amalgamated in Doon.

A TEACHERS’ union is demanding that any loss of teaching hours or posts is “absolutely minimised” when three schools are amalgamated in Doon.

The ASTI confirmed to the Limerick Leader that it is in contact with teachers, the Department of Education and the VEC in relation to the amalgamation.

The three schools involved are St Fintan’s CBS and St Joseph’s secondary schools in Doon, and St Michael’s in Cappamore. Work on the new school - Scoil na Trionoide Naofa – is expected to be completed in early 2014. From September the schools will be amalgamating on a split site in Doon with St Michael’s concentrating on their many post Leaving Cert courses.

A local person contacted the Leader to say there are concerns that nine younger teachers will be put on the “panel” - moved to another school.

“That would mean they will be gone from the new school. And there is talk that three temporary teachers will lose their jobs completely. You would think that with all the money they are spending on the new school the staff would be the same or even greater. Those teachers give a lot of time to pupils after hours and would be a massive loss,” they said.

A teacher from one of the schools said they are waiting to see what happens.

“It all depends on what the first year numbers are going to be like. It’s a numbers game,” they said.

The ASTI said they will ensure that the amalgamation complies with “normal amalgamation procedures”.

“If there is a case for the redeployment of a teacher or teachers – and this will not be known until staffing allocations have been finalised – the ASTI will work to ensure that the agreed redeployment procedures are adhered to.

“In relation to fixed-term teachers, the same conditions exist for these teachers as for any fixed term teacher in any school in the country. If the school has a need for the services provided by a particular fixed term teacher, then that teacher should be kept on.

“Unfortunately, all fixed term teachers can experience a level of vulnerability in terms of job security. In the case of Doon, we will be demanding that any loss of teaching hours or posts is absolutely minimised,” said an ASTI spokesperson.

Anne Kelleher, chief executive of CEIST (Catholic Education and Irish Schools Trust), trustees of Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, said every amalgamation carries with it a level of anxiety for students, staff and parents.

“We have worked very hard behind the scenes to minimise any disruption to the students’ curricular lives and to the staffing schedules. hence I would be confident that the steps we are taking will certainly eliminate any disruption.

“From the point of view of trustees we want to assure parents of excellence in teaching and learning, that have been the hallmark of the three schools that are amalgamating, will continue, and we are confident that there will be minimal disruption, if any, to the staffing cohort,” said Ms Kelleher, who stresses that the excellent extra curricular programme in the sporting arena, debating, arts, drama., theatre etc will be continued.

“There will be enhanced facilities and the school will be managed by public private partnership, which means a lot of after school activities and the school will be available outside of hours,” she concluded.