Northern Ireland

Graduate teacher jobs scheme appointments 'going well'

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Media captionAbout 70 posts remain unfilled, as Maggie Taggart reports

Organisers of a scheme to give short-term employment to hundreds of newly-qualified teachers in Northern Ireland have said they are pleased at the number who have been appointed.

Almost 270 two-year posts have been created to help improve literacy and numeracy standards in deprived areas.

While almost 200 posts have been allocated, about 70 remain unfilled.

The scheme is open to young teachers who graduated within the last three years but do not have permanent jobs.

In May, the Western Education and Library Board was given the task of matching schools with the graduates.

Alison Smyth of the Western Board said they hoped to advertise again and appoint more teachers after the Halloween mid-term break.

"We have been interviewing the young teachers, and it's great that we're in the position now to have so many of them employed," she said.

Some head teachers have expressed concern that the graduate teachers are not all yet in place.

Stephen McConkey of Hollybank Primary School in Monkstown said: "I appreciate it's a difficult and time-consuming exercise. However, any school would have liked to see these teachers on-site by the end of August or start of September."

All post-primary, non-selective schools have been allocated at least one new teacher, and selected primary schools were targeted to give children extra help with reading, writing and mathematics.

However, the two-year period paid for by the Department of Education will end in August 2015, even if the graduate teachers do not start work until weeks or months into the school year.

One graduate who has been employed as part of the scheme said it would boost his chances of getting a permanent job.

David Kearney, who was recruited by Hollybank Primary School, said: "Unfortunately the nature of supply work is that it's not guaranteed, and there were times you were waiting for a phone call.

"This is not a long-term fix but it's great to give young teachers a chance to develop their skills.

"It puts us in a better position to apply for permanent jobs in the future."

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