Schools struggle as teachers leave Dublin over high cost of living

Dublin schools are struggling to recruit staff due to the cost of living crisis, with many teachers leaving the capital this summer in search of cheaper accommodation and lower bills.

Everyone says they can’t afford to rent or buy homes in the capital, and rising fuel costs mean it’s become unprofitable to commute from nearby cities.

Headmasters say they are aware of cases where teachers have left their post in Dublin to seek employment elsewhere in the country due to financial constraints.

A director in Cork said that Sunday independent He was able to hire two math teachers during the pandemic who had moved south because of the cost of living. He and his colleagues noticed an increase in similar cases this year.

There are now concerns that Dublin schools may struggle this summer to hire substitute teachers for subjects that have been experiencing acute staff shortages in recent years – with Irish, foreign languages, home economics and science posts proving particularly difficult to fill.

A school in south Dublin recently told parents it had lost six teachers to other parts of the country due to the cost of living crisis. This principal told parents they could find substitute teachers, but other nearby schools had not been so lucky.

There are concerns that schools may need to consider dropping certain electives if teachers cannot be found before the new school year begins.

Education figures say interest in jobs in Dublin has been limited compared to other parts of the country.

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) General Secretary Kieran Christie said most of the cases he is aware of have involved teachers in the first two years of their careers or those previously working in temporary positions looking for new opportunities.

He said a minority of the cases involved teachers leaving permanent posts in Dublin in search of a better standard of living.

“They are moving because of the housing situation and the cost of living in Dublin,” Christie said.

“You’re looking for opportunities. Teachers for Gaeilge, for example, are in demand nationwide, so why not say to yourself, ‘I can move somewhere in the provinces and buy a house for half the price I pay in Dublin and the salary stays the same’?

“When you look at the financial differences, it’s a no-brainer.”

A teacher, who asked not to be identified to protect the privacy of his personal finances, told dem Sunday independent He was able to buy a house in a rural town where his monthly mortgage contribution was less than the rent he had been paying in Dublin. “We now have a better quality of life. We spend less time commuting to work. It’s cheaper to drive to work here and we have more money at the end of each month,” he said.

The director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), Paul Crone, said he was aware of cases where more experienced teachers had moved away from Dublin.

He said it was difficult to quantify how significant the problem was, but evidence suggested many schools across the city would be affected this summer.

“Experienced teachers were at the stage where they wanted to buy a house, had taught for five or six years, were in a relationship but couldn’t afford to buy a house, so they went to the country,” Mr Crone said .

“Anecdotally, when I was at meetings in Dublin recently, it was a big topic of conversation. I know from talking to principals that there are many with many vacancies.”

Mr Crone said some Dublin schools were receiving fewer applications than would normally be expected, “and in some specific subjects they are not receiving a single application”.

English, history and woodworking teachers are also hard to find, he said. The number of newly qualified teachers applying for jobs in Dublin has fallen significantly, Mr Crone said.

The Secretary General of the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI), Michael Gillespie, said Dubai and Scotland are also becoming increasingly attractive destinations for teachers due to the high cost of living relative to the earning potential.

“There’s nothing to attract people to Dublin,” he added.

“The vast majority of people who want to be posted to Dublin do so either because they already have a house there or because their partner has been offered a better job or a promotion there. You are moving for a reason; something has changed which means they can afford to live in Dublin.

“We are already seeing vacancies being advertised and not filled. Some people take jobs [in Dublin] but when they are offered one across the country, they move. So the person you are offering a [Dublin] Job so far must not be the person starting in September. Then you will see that some subjects cannot be taught in some schools.

“There are schools in emergencies that are using teachers who went to Gaelscoils but have other qualifications and they are now teaching Irish even though they are not qualified to teach Irish.

“Sufficiently qualified teachers cannot be recruited for the maternity leave either – our surveys show that.”

This also feeds the concerns of the clients about the procurement of replacement covers in the next year.

This proved difficult during the pandemic when emergency measures were put in place to support schools hit by Covid-19 outbreaks.

The Department of Education said it has taken steps to support the provision of teachers.

A spokesman said this included giving additional posts to elementary school replacement boards, where teachers have historically been difficult to find.

There are 680 posts across 142 panels covering 2,700 schools, “including the vast majority of primary schools in Dublin,” he added.

Changes have also been made to the Teaching Council regulations to allow student teachers who have successfully completed the first two years of their undergraduate course to apply for registration with the Council. More than 1,250 have made applications, which the ministry said should be processed before September.

These teachers can help with substitution because they can be employed at a school for more than five consecutive days after their registration, the spokesman added.

“The Council is also currently processing applications for registration of Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), which will provide a new source of supply in 2022-23,” he said.

“In a typical year, approximately 3,500 applications are processed by NQTs.” Schools struggle as teachers leave Dublin over high cost of living

Fry Electronics Team

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