We are well into our new school year, and hopefully any teachers reading this are doing well – within their classrooms and within themselves.
And while we all get on with our jobs we are being told that the recession is pretty much over. The headlines are great! Economy creates 1,000 jobs a week; Tax take €1.4 Bn ahead of forecast.
One of the things that I reckon has slipped under the radar this September is that the capitation for schools was cut by a further 1% this year. This is 4 years in a row that the budget for running schools has been cut.
But the headlines tell us things are great.
We are now at the point where extra supports have been cut wherever the Government thinks they can get away with it. We have lost language supports for foreign nationals. Because they are magically better at English now?
And the headlines still tell us things are great.
We have lost supports for students with Special Education Needs. Think of that. Those who need the most support – denied it in the name of Austerity. We have had cutbacks to the National Education Psychological Service. Students who may have an undiagnosed condition may fall through the cracks – because NEPS don’t have the resources to provide enough assessments to schools. Again, it’s those who need the most help are the ones who suffer. Another support – Guidance Counsellors – has been removed altogether. Students need as much help as possible to make intelligent subject and college choices. But Guidance Counsellors do so much more on a personal level with students. But, with the stroke of a pen they became casualties of the recession.
But we’re told the recession is over.
One of the early cuts was to teacher numbers. Classes are larger – and by necessity this means that teachers can give less attention to individuals. All students suffer.
And they have the gall to celebrate the ‘success’ of Austerity.
Teachers have had their pay slashed – and they have been divided. Anyone who received a contract after 2011 is paid on a different scale. They are paid less than their equally qualified counterpart who was lucky enough to land a job in 2010 or earlier.
Forgive me if I see little to celebrate in our Government’s performance in Education.
Any successes that have appeared recently are down to the sheer hard work of so many professionals who are exhausting themselves because they love their jobs and they love teaching. Part of me wonders if the Government knows this and that is why they are not afraid to keep on cutting.
Many teachers are exhausted – and a number have retired early simply because of the level of cuts enforced upon them.
Maybe it’s time to cut back. The election is coming, and I very much doubt that I will be sending any votes the way of our current Government.
Let’s see them celebrate that.
For any teachers who are feeling burned out – or worried about their own ability to cope – please consider contacting Carecall – where counselling support is available for free