Commenting on the measures announced for the education sector as part of Budget 2022, Paul Crone, Director, National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals said:
“Today’s education Budget was a missed opportunity by the Government to set about improving learning outcomes for students in the post-primary sector, most of whom have endured a disrupted two years of learning due to Covid.
“We welcome the Government’s announcement of the provision of a further 1,165 SNA positions and 980 special education teachers. This provision represents a positive start to support schools in addressing the complex needs of those students in need of such supports. It is vital now that such additional roles are filled for this impact to be realised. Similar headline commitments were made by the Government in Budget 2021, but to date, these vacancies have yet to be filled. Therefore, it is critical that the necessary Departmental resourcing and energy is directed to meeting these recruitment goals.
“The NAPD welcomes the €50m allocation in Budget 2022 for technology enhanced learning. The experience of the pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for investment in both ICT infrastructure and supporting school communities in the uptake and use of same.
“We welcome the positive announcement of the expansion of the DEIS scheme, which will help support the most vulnerable students in our society and we commend the Minister on her continued commitment to the scheme.
“We have called on the Minister to address the growing crisis that is the lack of substitute teachers available to schools and call the Government to increase investment in this area to ensure schools are adequately resourced to provide cover for teachers who may take leave for any number of reasons including sick leave, an issue which has become more prevalent during the pandemic.
“Finally, this Budget does little to address the growing crisis in the recruitment and retention of principals in the post-primary sector. School leaders have been overburdened and overwhelmed by administrative duties, which have grown year-on-year, preventing them from focusing their energies on leading learning and education within the school community.”