Northern Ireland

£33m scheme to replace older teachers with newly qualified staff

Empty classroom Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption According to Department of Education figures, around 2,350 teachers over the age of 55 are employed in schools in Northern Ireland

The education minister is to spend more than £33m on a scheme to replace older teaching staff with newly qualified teachers.

John O'Dowd aims to encourage up to 500 teachers over the age of 55 to retire with early access to their full pension.

The "Investing in the Teaching Workforce" scheme will offer the deal as long as schools replace the member of staff with a newly qualified teacher, or one who has graduated within the past three years.

It is expected to begin receiving applications from teachers in spring 2016.

According to Department of Education figures, about 2,350 teachers over the age of 55 are employed in schools in Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, of about 2,000 teaching graduates who have registered with the General Teaching Council since 2013/14, more than 1,400 still do not have a permanent teaching job.

Forty-seven million pounds has been allocated to the Department of Education for teacher's severance schemes in the 2016/17 budget.

Image caption Mr O'Dowd said the scheme will allow some teachers over the age of 55 to retire with "recognition of their contribution to education"

About £14m of this is to be spent on a voluntary redundancy scheme which will close teaching posts, while £33m is to be spent on the new scheme to replace teachers.

Mr O'Dowd said this would also allow schools to reduce their costs, "with recently qualified teachers filling the place of some teachers over the age of 55".

"In turn, the scheme will allow some teachers over the age of 55 to retire with recognition of their contribution to education," he added.

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