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Schools are like ‘pressure cookers’ says local teacher

INTO northern chair Dorothy McGinley addresses delegates at the union’s annual conference.

A SION Mills teacher has warned schools are like ‘pressure cookers about to boil over’ at a recent teachers conference.

Speaking at the conference in Fermanagh in recent days, the northern chairperson of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) and Sion Mills Primary School teacher Dorothy McGinley discussed the threat of budget cuts, increased workloads, inspection reports and school closures.

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According to Ms McGinley, schools are ‘about to boil over’ under a tsunami of initiatives, target setting, monitoring and evaluating.
“Schools are like pressure cookers about to boil over. Teachers are becoming more and more bogged down,” she said. “The Education and Training Inspectorate (ETI) has dramatically impacted on every aspect of school life. This includes the curriculum we teach, the way we teach it and the countless ways we assess it.”

With this, Ms McGinley said the status quo must change and teachers need to get back to doing the job they love.

“There is now a culture of continually trying to refine teaching and working ridiculous hours to invent ETI proof lessons that achieve the impossible. Principals are being forced to live and breathe policy after policy and teachers are up half the night preparing for lessons which then are not inspected. This must stop. Teachers have had enough of the unsustainable levels of pressure and unsustainable workload while being denied a real pay increase.”

According to Ms McGinley the INTO are working hard to address these issues.

“Teachers are professionals who strive to improve teaching and learning in their school and want to provide the best outcomes for their students,” she said.

“School inspection models must assist in this. The Irish National Teachers Organisation will continue to be at the forefront in finding a fair system.

“Teachers are not afraid of a robust and effective system but we insist it be funded, fair and respectful of teachers.”

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