Approval of student teachers for subbing could add 1,000 to workforce

  • Department has given green light
  • Vital to meet shortfall in substitute teachers


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe has welcomed the confirmation that a cohort of student teachers will be permitted to fill in for schools where substitute teachers are scarce.

Following positive engagement between the Department of Education and Higher Education Institutions who provide primary initial teacher education programmes, it has been agreed to facilitate release of PME and B.Ed. year 3 and year 4 students to support schools up to the end of term.

They have also agreed to explore flexible options in relation to the assessment requirement for programmes in the context of students being available to support schools.

“This is a suggestion I had brought directly to Minister Norma Foley over the past fortnight and I saw first-hand how schools have been struggling – but in particular, I felt that there was a potential role to be played by student teachers,”

“These are teachers who have largely completed their degree – following the Christmas break, they’re down to examinations and project work.

“Their teaching practice placements have largely been fulfilled and so too have most of their pedological studies.

“It makes sense that we would deploy them to the frontline at this time of crisis.

“The cumulative effect of having student teachers from all colleges could add an additional 1,000 teachers to classroom duties over the coming weeks, which would significantly alleviate the current problem.

“I’m glad also that teachers on secondment to the PDST will also now, in many instances, return to the classroom.

“These are teachers who ordinarily would be teaching their own class but they’re now working with the Department of Education to assist with the upskilling and continuous professional development in the areas of literacy and numeracy.

“I believe that there is still a role for the inspectorate to also help at this time and I hope that the cumulative efforts of all of these groups will address the significant shortfall in terms of substitute teachers that we, as a country, are facing at this time.

“As always, until such a time that the shortage has been met, I stand ready to assist with schools in Clare in cases where I will not displace any other teacher.”