Responding to the publication today of draft area plans by the five Education and Library Boards in Northern Ireland for the restructuring of education in their areas, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in Northern Ireland, said:
“The plans provide a long-overdue opportunity to develop the schools system for the next 25 to 30 years in Northern Ireland that will benefit all children and young people and ensure they receive continuing access to a high-quality education system, through a strong network of schools which will equip them with the skills they need for the future.
“Today's plans are at this stage options from the boards and are not yet firm proposals and it will be essential to engage fully in this critical consultation.
“The NASUWT does however remain deeply concerned about the impact of the plans on the job security of teachers.
“High quality education can only be delivered by ensuring that there are enough teachers to provide it.
"Predicted job loss is unacceptably high. Not only are talented and experienced teachers being lost but new teachers, who are the future of the teaching profession and the education service, are unable to find jobs.
"The NASUWT is continuing its current industrial action not only to oppose job loss but to ensure that teachers have pay which recognises and rewards them as highly skilled professionals and conditions of service to enable them to work effectively to raise standards.
“The NASUWT welcomes the minister’s statement about transforming education, but he must not forget the centrality of the workforce in delivering his plans. Teachers and pupils in Northern Ireland are ill-served by teachers' current conditions of service and the minister should make their transformation a priority."
NASUWT Northern Ireland Organsier Seamus Searson said:
“The five boards have put forward their proposals but they will be taken forward by the Education and Skills Authority which has yet to be established.
"The Assembly must not continue to delay moving the necessary legislation to establish the ESA.
“Thanks to the dedication and hard work of teachers, Northern Ireland has some of the best examination results in the United Kingdom but more needs to be done to ensure that educational underachievement is addressed. There is now the opportunity to tackle this critical issue."
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