Teachers’ work permits waived

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TYNWALD approval will be sought at next week’s sitting to add secondary schools to the list of employments which are exempt from the requirement to have a work permit.

It is hoped the Department of Economic Development’s move will address the difficulty in recruiting secondary school teachers.

The proposal has been welcomed by the Department of Education and Children and head teachers.

Ballakermeen High School head teacher Adrienne Burnett said: ‘There’s a shortage of secondary school teachers in the Isle of Man, not just for core subjects like English, maths and science but in all subject areas. It’s expensive to come over here and it’s expensive to live here.’

She said island schools were losing out because they could only make candidates offers conditional of being able to get a work permit.

‘They could be waiting two months for a work permit to come through and in the meantime other head teachers will be ringing saying they can offer them a job now.’

She said the exemption would be ‘one less hoop to jump through’.

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Mrs Burnett said secondary schools were already at a disadvantage in recruiting since English changes to pension conditions meant contributions made in the island no longer counted after teachers had been here for more than five years.

English schools and private academies were also able to make very attractive offers to teachers, including paying off their student loan, and guarantees to pay more than any other school.

There are 383 secondary school teachers (full time equivalent of 358.2), and there are 32 vacancies.

Mrs Burnett said she had advertised a number of teaching jobs and not had any applicants. And she has also advertised for roles, with only an applicant from another island school applying – meaning that school would then be short.

DEC director of strategy and corporate services Heather Christian said she was ‘delighted’ by the DED’s proposal.

Economic Development Minister John Shimmin said the DEC ‘always tries to give preference to Isle of Man workers’.

He said: ‘The order we are putting before Tynwald should provide greater reassurance to parents that Government will use its powers to ensure appropriate resources are provided for their children’s education.

‘This order does not disadvantage newly-qualified teachers who are Isle of Man workers providing they are able to teach the subjects where vacancies are available.’

It is more difficult to get funding for post-graduate teacher training in the Isle of Man than in England.

The minimum requirement for Manx students is a 2:1 undergraduate degree, compared with a 2:2 for English students.

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