Irish schools are set to face the unprecedented challenge of recruiting 1,000 additional teachers before the end of August.
A €375 million support package has been announced as part of a new roadmap for reopening all schools this autumn.
All primary and post-primary schools will return in full in the new term, with social distancing measures to be put in place for older pupils. There will be a one-metre social distancing requirement for secondary schoolchildren but distancing will not be required for younger primary pupils. Pupils and teachers will also not be required to wear face masks in class.
A €75 million capital allocation has been announced to support schools to prepare their buildings and classrooms for reopening.
1,080 extra teachers are expected to be added to post-primary schools at a cost of €53 million to help reduce class sizes. 120 new guidance posts will be also provided to support student wellbeing. Over 600 posts to be made available to post-primary schools and remaining posts will be used to support those post-primary schools.
Funding of €41.2 million will be made available to hire substitute teachers at primary school level.
Teachers are expected to be recruited from a pool of 2,000 qualified post-primary teachers who are currently not teaching. There are 1,300 other teachers who are currently job sharing.
Minister for Education Norma Foley has said there will be challenges for schools in recruiting teachers but she has every confidence that it will be back to school as normal.