Mid Ulster Council calls on Education Minister to ‘widen teaching scheme’ to give experienced a chance

Many teachers who qualified in the last 10 years have said they are finding it extremely difficult to find any permanent posts
Many teachers who qualified in the last 10 years have said they are finding it extremely difficult to find any permanent posts

Most Mid Ulster councillors have thrown their weight behind an SDLP motion calling for the education minister to consider all teachers in the Teaching Workforce Scheme.

Draft proposals for the £33m scheme were announced by John O’Dowd in December.

It is aimed at helping newly qualified teachers get their first full time job without much experience.

But SDLP councillor, Martin Kearney, argued that it gives an unfair advantage to those who have qualified in the last three years, when there may be teachers with 10 years experience who are stuck in a cycle of one-year contracts, with no prospect of a permanent position.

“Many teachers across Mid Ulster are without a full time teaching post who will find themselves outside of this scheme,” he said. “Experienced staff are to be replaced with new graduates... the one thing that’s missing is equality of opportunity.”

Representatives from both the DUP and UUP said the motion did not go far enough, while Sinn Fein delegation leader Ronan McGinley was quick to point out that the scheme was in its draft stage and that widening it would incur further costs.