800 new substitute teachers insufficient to fill gaps in North Ireland schools

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A staff of 800 teachers have been set up in schools across Northern Ireland, and it is still insufficient to fill staffing gaps. With the question hanging over regarding when school will reopen after the New Year break.

Children will face difficulties in their studies, due to which the education chief insists that demand for emergency cover continues to outstrip availability.

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According to Education Minister Michelle McIlveen, The Education Authority (EA) need to process almost 800 new substitute teacher registrations. She further responded to an Assembly about the action planned to tackle staff shortages in school.

“I admit that some schools are under pressure right now because of the staff shortages, and I am thankful for all the staff for the work they have done to keep the school running,” said DUP Minister McIlveen.

Furthermore, she added that her Department, along with others, is “actively estimating several ideas for how best to further support schools in responding to the difficulties they are currently facing.”

According to the Department, the EA evaluates that there are 7,000 to 8,000 teachers on the Northern Ireland Substitute Teacher Register database, of which 3,000 to 4,000 can be “booked out” at any time.

“This includes a total of 1,412 new registrations handled on NISTR in this year, with near about 800 of them processed since July,” a spokesperson noted.

“Feedback from schools clearly shows that the efforts of demand for emergency cover in school sometimes exceed the current supply.”

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McIlveen added, “I do not believe in the closure of schools because I firmly believe that schools are the only option for children to get updated.”

“Not only for the educational benefits that they accrue but also the positive impact they got on their mind and as well as their well being at this time.”

“As a result, I have no plans to shut the schools,” said McIlveen.

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