THOUSANDS of Clare secondary school students face further disruption and unrest this week as eight of our county’s secondary schools remain closed indefinitely.

Clare’s ASTI representative Peter Quinn has admitted that the county’s teachers are eager to return to the classroom as the ASTI pay disagreement with Government officials elevates.

Eight of Co Clare’s 12 secondary schools will be closed indefinitely after ASTI members voted to withdraw from the supervision of students during break times.

The ASTI says its members are available for normal teaching duties however school management bodies say schools are being forced to close as a result, on health and safety grounds.

Speaking to The Clare People, St Flannan’s teacher Mr Quinn says he has been in talks with the Dept Of Education every day since the schools broke up for mid-term.

“As we are, we have pulled out of supervision and substitution because we weren’t being paid for it and our colleagues in TUI were being paid so a consequence of that we couldn’t continue to do it,” said Mr Quinn.

Speaking yesterday, he said, “I’ve been in talks today, Saturday, Sunday, Monday — they were going on all last week as well. So they’re going on all the time.

“There hasn’t been any movement on either side so it’s regrettable that there hasn’t been movement at all. It’s very easy to fix this, pay the little amount of money that is due to teachers that is due for doing S&S and it’s all over, and schools will be open. That’s all it is. It’s the Government holding it up. They’re saying we didn’t join Lansdowne Road agreement so we’re not being paid the money.”

Mr Quinn added that it’s the wish of ASTI members to return to the classroom and that he has sympathy for those studying for exams.

“We want to be in there, we really want to go into school and teach, we don’t want to be out here doing nothing and I just hope the kids themselves are doing a bit of work over the break or revising or doing exam papers. We’d prefer to be in there teaching and not to be outside.”

Photograph: Brian Arthur Photography

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