Prin­ci­pals at big­gest Ir­ish schools can earn €112k

EU re­port shows Ir­ish heads are near the top of the class in Europe when it comes to earn­ings

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - News - Lynne Kelleher and Kather­ine Don­nelly

IRE­LAND’S head teach­ers are among the best paid in Europe, with top-level sec­ondary school lead­ers tak­ing home six-fig­ure salaries.

A new re­port re­veals that school heads in the prin­ci­pal­ity of Liecht­en­stein have the high­est wage pack­ets with up to €170,000 in an­nual earn­ings, just over 50pc more than their Ir­ish coun­ter­parts, who can earn a top salary of €112,000.

Ire­land ranks No 7 among nearly 40 coun­tries when it comes to salaries for sec­ondary school head teach­ers.

Ir­ish school prin­ci­pals can earn twice as much as Span­ish or Ital­ian head teach­ers and nearly four times as much as their Greek coun­ter­parts.

The sur­vey comes as the As­so­ci­a­tion of Sec­ondary Teach­ers Ire­land (Asti) yes­ter­day voted in favour of putting the pro­pos­als on pay for new en­trants to the pub­lic ser­vice to a bal­lot, without a rec­om­men­da­tion to mem­bers as to how they should vote.

The de­ci­sion by the Asti cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee is in keep­ing with the po­si­tion of the two other teacher unions, the TUI and the Into.

Ac­cord­ing to the new sur­vey, Luxembourg head teach­ers are sec­ond on the list with a sub­stan­tial salary of €153,000, while our near­est neigh­bours in the UK are in fourth place with state school heads earn­ing a top wage of just over €123,000 — though head teach­ers of pri­vate schools can earn much more.

The an­nual salaries of school heads are part of a newly re­leased Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion re­port on teach­ers’ pay.

School heads earn dif­fer­ent salaries de­pend­ing on the size and other char­ac­ter­is­tics of the school in more than half of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tems.

In ad­di­tion, Ire­land ranks eighth in terms of start­ing salary for pri­mary school teach­ers, while the na­tion ranks 12th on the ta­ble when it comes to the start­ing salary of a sec­ondary school teacher.

In sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, the small­est per­cent­age in­crease be­tween the start­ing and top salary is found in Lithua­nia at 3pc, but Ire­land is in stark con­trast with a 89pc jump through the ca­reer of a teacher who can al­most dou­ble their start­ing salary.

The re­port, ‘Teach­ers’ and School Heads’ Salaries and Al­lowances in Europe 2016/17’, noted that pay and con­di­tions in east­ern Europe are sub­stan­tially lower than in western Europe.

It also re­vealed that Ire­land along with the UK, Spain, and Greece, are among the nine coun­tries where real salaries of start­ing teach­ers are now lower than in 2009 and 2010.

But it noted that a pol­icy re­form or a change in the pay scales brought an in­crease of 4pc or more in Ire­land and eight other mem­ber states from cen­tral and east­ern Europe.

The re­port re­veals that the start­ing salaries for teach­ers in Luxembourg and Switzer­land are the high­est in Europe for sec­ondary school teach­ers.

The Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sion re­port re­vealed that Ir­ish sec­ondary school head teach­ers of the largest schools with 60 teach­ers or more have a min­i­mum an­nual gross statu­tory salary of €90,414 and the max­i­mum is €112,035.

When it comes to Ir­ish sec­ondary school heads of an av­er­age-sized school with 475 pupils, the min­i­mum an­nual gross salary in 2016 and 2017 was €71,659 and the max­i­mum was €93,280.

Af­ter yes­ter­day’s Asti de­ci­sion re­lat­ing to new en­trant pay, as­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Breda Lynch said while the pro­posed mea­sures rep­re­sented “some progress, it does not achieve equal pay for equal work”.

The deal pro­vides for pay rises of about €3,300 for 60,000 pub­lic ser­vants re­cruited since 2011, al­though it hasn’t set­tled all griev­ances.

While the pro­pos­als re­late only to mem­bers re­cruited in the past seven years , a ‘no’ vote would carry risks, such as loss of in­cre­ments, for all mem­bers, if it trans­lated into in­dus­trial ac­tion.

This is be­cause the deal was ne­go­ti­ated within the wider frame­work of the Pub­lic Ser­vice Sta­bil­ity Agree­ment (PSSA), which pro­vides for se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial penal­ties for unions which refuse to ac­cept its terms and go on to take in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Asti re­mained out­side the Lans­downe Road Agree­ment for an ex­tended pe­riod, re­sult­ing in losses for its mem­bers.

INEQUAL­ITY: Asti pres­i­dent Breda Lynch

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