Education Minister John O’Dowd has given the green light to a £33.1million investment which will see up to 500 recently qualified teachers employed in schools.
The funding, allocated by the Executive from the Public Sector Transformation Fund, will be used to reshape the teaching workforce as part of a dual approach to a strategic cost reduction scheme for schools.
Minister O’Dowd said: “This scheme, Investing in the Teaching Workforce, which will open to applications early in the New Year, will enable schools to reduce their cost base, through a reduction in their teaching costs with recently qualified teachers filling the place of teachers eligible for premature retirement, that is those 55+. In turn, the scheme will allow those teachers over the age of 55 to retire with recognition of their contribution to education.”
There are some 2,350 teachers aged 55+ who are employed in schools. It is estimated that up to 500 teachers may leave the profession under the new scheme.
Minister O’Dowd continued: “Since 2013/14, 2,088 graduates have registered with the GTCNI, of which it is understood some 1,414 do not hold a permanent teaching position in a grant-aided school. The benefits of refreshing the teaching workforce and providing employment opportunities for recently qualified teachers and the resulting boost to the local economy cannot be underestimated.”
“The new scheme would align closely with my vision for Education, which is to ensure that every learner fulfils his or her potential at each stage of their development.”
Teaching unions and employers are working with the Department on the development of the scheme. Applications will be considered, in the first instance, by Boards of Governors (BoGs) as they are the employer of teachers. In considering applications, BoGs will ensure the continued delivery of the curriculum for pupils.