O'Lynn and Egan hit out at Education Authority after substitute teachers again left without pay

Alliance MLAs have hit out at the Education Authority (EA) after substitute teachers were again left without pay.

Education Connie Egan Patricia O'Lynn

The Northern Ireland Supply Teacher Register (NISTR) was launched in August but was hit with technical issues, followed by many supply teachers not being paid in September for work in August. Problems have continued into October, with many left without pay for September’s work.

North Antrim MLA Patricia O’Lynn has met with a number of substitute teachers and said it was clear problems with the system remained.

“The system has been described to me as nothing sort of catastrophic, leaving substitute teachers struggling to pay their bills. A phone line dedicated to helping has now been closed, compounding the problem, and email enquiries are not being responded to,” she said.

“This is being compounded by teachers’ inability to register as available for work, resulting in missed income. It is vital the EA sorts this situation and does so urgently.

“While some seem to be pretending the cost of living crisis is not happening, the reality is substitute teachers are being left short at a time when prices are rising dramatically, increasing their vulnerability to the current crisis. That is completely unacceptable.”

Alliance Education spokesperson Connie Egan said it was a scandal some substitutes were being left without pay for work they had carried out, which she has now raised with the EA and Department of Education.

“These teachers are vital to the running of our education system and must be paid for their work in a timely manner.

“Earlier this year, I wrote to the EA and Department about NISTR being ready for the beginning of the new school year and have also met with the organisation’s Chief Executive about pay through it. They assured me there were minor ‘teething issues’, but clearly that is not the case and substitute teachers are facing the consequences.

 “The Department of Education and the EA need to find solutions to these problems immediately and ensure substitute teachers are both paid in full and don’t have to face this situation again.”