Gino Kenny TD to call for an ‘On Call for Ireland’ campaign for Education

TD to also raise Support our Secretaries campaign

At the Covid Committee today, which is covering the area of education, People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny will call for an ‘On Call for Ireland’ campaign for education in order to recruit more teachers to facilitate safe class sizes in the wake of Covid-19.

The ‘On Call for Ireland’ campaign was launched at the beginning of the pandemic and saw 72,000 health workers sign up. They came out of retirement, they found others to care for their kids, came home from abroad and put themselves forward to help in the face of Covid-19.

The TD said: “We now need an On Call for Ireland campaign for education. Before the Covid-19 crisis class sizes in this country were too large. Now, in the wake of Covid-19, for schools to return in a safe fashion this September we need adequate numbers of teachers to cater for much smaller class sizes.

“We need a national campaign to recruit teachers. Many of our qualified teachers have emigrated over the last years as the lack of permanent jobs and two-tier pay has meant making a life here was too difficult.

“Our kids are entitled to an education and the only way to achieve this and respect public health guidelines is to recruit more teachers and find more premises.

“The government needs to launch this call immediately but, unlike what they did in the call for the health service, the jobs they offer need to be on proper contracts. Now is the time to end the two-tier pay in education and to make all teachers permanent.”

The TD will also outline his support and that of People Before Profit for the FORSA Support our Secretaries campaign which focuses on making all school secretaries proper public servants.School Secretaries are an integral part of any school.

Deputy Kenny will say: “School secretaries ensure that everything runs smoothly, day in day out, yet 90% of them are paid from the grants that schools get, and many are paid as little as €12k a year with no entitlement to sick pay or pension rights.

“They have to sign on for the holidays every year and are expected to be “looking for work” despite the fact that they have jobs. 10% of them are paid as public servants on an established pay scale with both sick pay and pension rights.

“This was unacceptable before the pandemic but in the context of a post Covid return to school it must be rectified as a matter of urgency.

“In late August and early September, school secretaries will play a vital role in making the school post Covid ready. We need a commitment now to bring these employees in line with the 10% who are proper public servants.”