Dáil Éireann - Volume 672 - 28 January, 2009

Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Science the action he will take to avoid pupils being sent home unexpectedly from a school (details supplied) in County Cork in the absence of a special needs teacher on uncertified sick leave; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2488/09]

  Deputy Batt O’Keeffe: As a result of the 2009 Budget provisions for Education, arising from current economic challenges and following subsequent proposals from the management bodies of primary schools, new arrangements are being put into place for substitution cover for uncertified sick leave for teachers in primary schools. In primary schools there will be substitute cover for teachers on uncertified sick leave other than on the first day of absence. In a school where more than one teacher is absent on the first day of uncertified sick leave, substitute cover will be provided for the second and subsequent teachers that are absent. In schools with two teachers or less cover will be provided where any classroom teacher is absent. Circular 0115/2008 outlining the full details has been posted on my Departments website at www.education.ie.

Substitution cover will continue to be provided for all other categories of absences currently available such as certified sick leave and maternity leave. In the period until the end of the school year, there will be a full review of the substitution and supervision scheme and related matters in conjunction with the school management bodies and teacher unions with a view to making up the additional expenditure and thereby ensuring that the budgetary parameters are met.

As we manage through this difficult period I am asking teachers in all schools to co-operate fully with school managers in coping with this change in the interest of the students. I am also requesting the school managerial bodies to ensure that the supervision/substitution scheme is operated with maximum effectiveness in all schools.