A teaching union has declined to comment on Deputy Cathal Crowe’s decision to register as a substitute teacher for work in national or secondary school free of charge.
The Clare Fianna Fáil Deputy has registered as a substitute teacher for the 2021/22 academic year, to assist Clare schools that are in need of cover.
A primary teacher by trade, Deputy Crowe is offering his services to both primary and secondary schools on days when politics doesn’t take up his time.
“I’ve registered with Sub Seeker, which is an online platform for school principals to get substitute teachers to cover absences within their staff,” said Deputy Crowe.
Responding to Clare Champion queries, the INTO stated as a matter of policy, the union does not comment on the registration status of individual members.
The union remains concerned that the national supply panel for primary and special schools, which provides ready access to a qualified teacher to schools requiring substitution, does not cover approximately 700 schools.
Ahead of Budget 2022, the union continues to call for the government to expand coverage so that all schools secure access. Such a move will help school principals to quickly access substitution.
In a statement issued to the Clare Champion, Deputy Crowe confirmed he hopes to make himself available to primary and secondary throughout the county, on days when the Dáil isn’t sitting and on days when he doesn’t have clinics or scheduled meetings.
“Covid-19 has put immense pressure on schools over the past 18 months and a lot more teachers have been absent than would typically be the case, so I hope that on days when I’m not busy that I can return to the classroom to help out schools that are in need.
“I will only sub in schools on two conditions – firstly, that it doesn’t displace someone who is vying for paid work, as this situation would apply to many newly qualified teachers, and secondly I won’t take any payment.
“Last year, a number of schools took me up on the offer and I taught a number of lessons, particularly relating to politics, Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) and history – but this year, I hope to make myself more widely available and I’m happy to also help out in secondary schools.
“I qualified as a teacher after completing a history, politics and economics degree at the University of Limerick – I then did a postgrad at Mary Immaculate College.
After graduating in 2006, Deputy Crowe worked for his first year at his childhood school of Meelick NS, and spent the following 15 years in Parteen National School, spending some of the best years of his life at the top of the classroom.
“Whilst I love being a TD, there’s no denying that a part of me does miss the chalk and talk of school.
“No two days are the same in this environment and it’s definitely a good place to keep one grounded, in tune with what’s happening and also to feel youthful.
“I hope that some schools will take me up on the offer and I look forward to reapplying my skills in classrooms throughout the county.”
Efforts by The Clare Champion to obtain a comment from the ASTI proved unsuccessful.
by Dan Danaher