Category: Education

Brid-Smith - CopyDeputy Brid Smith has called on the Department of Education to withdraw threats it has issued to teachers in the ASTI.

Teachers are been told they must sign up and agree to substitution and supervisor duties by tomorrow or face been taken off the payroll.

Brid Smith said today: “this is the worst example of bully boy tactics and intimidation I have seen in a dispute in years. If any employer in the private sector behaved like this it would be outrageous, but the fact that this is the Government makes it even more so.”

Deputy Smith said that the dispute cannot be resolved by intimidation and bullying. “The ASTI are absolutely right to fight for equal pay for equal work and I support them 100%. This is a cheap attempt to rail road these workers that will not succeed. I will be raising these outrageous moves in the Dail.”

In the meantime Deputy Smith urged the union and its members not to be moved by these tactics and also urged Minister Bruton to deal with the substantive issue of equal pay for equal work. “It remains an insult to all public sector workers that a large cohort of newly recruited workers are paid significantly less than their senior colleagues for doing the same work. It is unjust and cannot last. Piecemeal restoration is not good enough. These workers could be suffering these discriminatory wage levels for years to come. This cannot be accepted any longer.”

Call comes after reports of economic growth of 26%

Gino Kenny election posterPeople Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny, has demanded that the HSE respond to and inquiry he made about special needs school places, therapists and waiting times for services for special needs children.

After a very successful meeting with parents, People Before Profit had written to the HSE in search of answers as to where the supports for special need children such as Occupational Therapists, Speech and Language Therapists and Special Needs Assistants were.

Children with conditions like ASD, Speech and Language Impairments or Dyspraxia, who are experiencing difficulty acquiring skills such as speech, language and physical coordination, need help from Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and Occupational Therapists (OTs). They also need support in school from Resource Teachers, Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) and special classes.  

Deputy Kenny questioned, due to the reports of 26% growth in the Irish economy, where the tax revenue for this increased growth was and why some of it was not being directed to services for special needs children such as SNAs, OTs and SLTs.

Deputy Kenny said: “We have written to the HSE demanding a reduction in waiting times for services and therapy for special needs children and the hiring of more SNAs, OTs and SLTs to work with these children.

“Despite the strong evidence for the success of these inputs, parents and children experience long delays, and are frequently missing services, when they try to access assessments and treatments. 15,000 children are waiting for SLT alone. Waiting times are up to two years in some areas. Therapists on leave are not being replaced and school places are not available locally. This is disgraceful and has to stop immediately. We need investment in these areas.

“It is absolutely criminal that the government are allowing these children to be held back by lack of funding. These children have rights, civil, human but also economic rights where they should be given access to these vital services that are required to live their lives equal to that of their peers.

“I am calling on the government to outline why the funding for these services has been pulled, why it has not being restored and furthermore, what proportion of the 26% economic growth will be taxed and how much of that money will be directed to restoring these services.”

Profitable corporations must be made make bigger corporate tax contribution to help fund third level education 
Third level grants should be increased and all fees abolished to ensure education equality 

IMG_0583In response, to the Cassell’s report on third level education, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Education spokesperson for People Before Profit has called for the government to implement a system of  fully state funded higher education payed through progressive central taxation. People Before Profit say this option is the only way to increase the numbers of young people with the ability to access third level education and allow graduates to have more disposable income which would benefit the real economy.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said options including the retention of fees should be rejected, as should any student loan system, which would leave students with personal debts after they finished 3rd level or higher education, as these options disadvantage less well-off students and families and discourage participation.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the government must acknowledge that education is a right, not a privilege and should be free at the point of use.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said a fully state funded system should be paid for through progressive central taxation and, in particular, by requiring profitable corporations to make a much larger corporate tax contribution to share the cost of developing an educated and skilled workforce from which they disproportionately benefit.

In addition to a fully state funded system of higher education, People Before Profit have also called for the student grants to be increased and schemes such as the back to education scheme, expanded. They also called for the reversal  of the commercialisation of the higher education system and cuts to higher education and the Institutes of Technology, which have seen precarious work for staff increase over the past number of years.

Richard Boyd Barrett said:

“The student fees or student loans systems should be rejected out of hand, as they will only maintain the current failing model and financially punish students. The loan scheme model will push us even further towards the American system which sees students leaving 3rd level colleges with mountains of debt which they spend most of their working lives paying off, all in the interest of bankers and profits.

“It is clear to us in People Before Profit that there is only one feasible option from the findings in the Cassells report which is available to the government. Minister Bruton must select the fully state funded model where our third level education system is funded through progressive central taxation.

“It is also vital that we rescind all the cuts to higher education staff, remove the precarious nature of their employment and address the falling numbers of educators in our third level institutions.

“Education is a right, not a privilege and should not be a method of private banks and lenders making money off the backs of the student population. I am calling for the Minister to take the financial burden off our students and implement an education system, paid through progressive central taxation which is fee at the point of use. While doing this we have to get the multinationals to pay their full tax obligations of 12.5%, charge for Financial Transaction Tax and increase the taxes of the higher earners in our society.

“Big and profitable corporations, in particular must be forced to increase their currently pitifully low corporate tax contribution. These companies benefit directly and disproportionately from the existence of an educated and skilled workforce. They must be made to contribute a lot more towards the education of the workforce they need. ”

img_4276In the Dail this afternoon, People Before Profit TD, tackled the Minister for Health about the outrageous threat to the vocational services at St Augustines School in Blackrock.

St Augustine’s School is a successful school for children with learning disabilities with superior vocational services that has served children with special needs, not only in Blackrock but across the south city.

Recently parents and teachers have learned that their funding from the Dept of Health via St John of Gods is under threat.  This could see an end to the vocational development programme which includes Speech and Language Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and more.

Richard Boyd Barrett said: “It is utterly unacceptable that these services would be lost to this school.  The services that are currently there are absolutely crucial for the children in this school.  The loss of these services will seriously undermine the life chances of these children.

“I welcome the Minister’s willingness to meet with representatives of the parents group but the rest of the answer was bureaucratic and did not recognise the seriousness of the issue.  The promise of extra SNA’s is not a replacement for the huge cut to the vocational supports in the school.”

Boyd Barrett continued: “I will continue to raise this issue at every level and work with everyone and anyone to try and save these services.”

education mtg jan 2016A public meeting will take place in the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire at 8pm on Monday 18th January, on discrimination in school admission policies.
The meeting will bring together campaigners and parents to discuss the growing demands for equality in Education and how to mobilise for reform of the school admission policies that discriminate against children that are not baptised.
Hosted by Richard Boyd Barrett TD, speakers will include, parent Nikki Murphy from Education Equality Campaign, Michael Barron, EQUATE and Diarmaid MacAonghusa, Chairperson Educate Together.

education mtg jan 2016Public Meeting: Equality in Education: End Religious Discrimination in Schools

Monday, 18th January, 8pm, Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire

As many people know, the national school system here discriminates against children that are not baptised, which means many children are unable to attend their local schools.

People Before Profit believes it is high time to separate Church and State and have equal access to schools for all children.

If you’d like to have your say, know more or get involved in campaigning on the issue please come to this important meeting.

Read more by clicking on link below:

education mtg jan 2016 A

Kieran AllenThe leaking of a report Funding Irish Higher Education: A Virtuous Circle of Investment, Quality and Verification indicates that the government is planning a new model to cope with the growing crisis in higher education.

Kieran Allen, a UCD academic and People Before Profit member said: ‘Student numbers are increasing and the numbers will grow by about 30 percent by 2028. However, instead of developing a proper public funding model, there are signs that the political establishment want to promote student loans.

‘The experience elsewhere shows that this would be disaster as it would cripple young people with debt for decades after they graduate. ‘It would also pave the way for a systematic run down of state funding and an increase in student fees.

‘This is already indicated by talk of fees being in a range of €4,000 to €16,000.
‘The experience of student loans in America has been a disaster. Total outstanding student loan debt in the US has become larger than total outstanding credit card.

‘Between 1990 and 2010, real funding per public full-time enrolled student declined by over 26%.

‘Over the same period, tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities rose by 112.5% while the price of public two-year colleges increased by 71%.

‘Today, the average US student graduates college or university with over $25,000 in educational loan debt.
‘We do not want a repeat of this experience in Ireland. The political establishment will dangle the prospect of cheap loans in front of financially stressed students. But in the longer term it is a poisoned chalice.’