Other Education Staff or Staff Working with Schools
A service participating in the free Pre-School Year scheme can offer an additional activity such as music or dance which parents can choose to avail of for a charge. If they do not wish to avail of this activity, their child must continue to be provided with an appropriate alternative activity.
The main categories of support and guidance staff in schools in Ireland are support teachers in primary schools, school guidance counsellors in post-primary schools and home-school-community-liaison officers for disadvantaged areas at both primary and post-primary levels.
School guidance counsellors operate in post-primary schools. The qualifications normally required are those of a post-primary teacher with an additional postgraduate diploma in guidance. The role of these guidance counsellors is to provide for the personal, social, educational and vocational development needs of students. They carry out assessments, prepare students for interviews and job-search activities, help them to plan careers, and liaise with various public and voluntary community agencies. They are recruited, appointed and employed on a contractual basis by the relevant school management authorities. School guidance counsellors work under the same general employment and salary conditions as the mainstream teaching force.
Home School Community Liaison (HSCL) teachers are appointed from the qualified experienced teacher pool in the school in question. They apply for the position, when such a position is approved by the Department of Education and Skills for schools serving disadvantaged areas. Those appointed are selected on the basis of interview and evidence of aptitude. They undergo in-career training with a special focus on the work involved. The personnel appointed, work with the same salary conditions as mainstream teachers but are eligible for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The HSCL teachers work in disadvantaged areas and, in particular, in schools within the Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools (DEIS) initiative, and seek to assist parents in supporting their children's participation in the work of the school. They seek to establish worthwhile linkages and mutual understanding between schools, parents or guardians and a variety of relevant agencies and the wider community.
Irish schools do not have ancillary staff employed such as researchers or welfare and healthcare personnel. Health services are available to school children, but such personnel do not form the staff of schools. In some boarding schools matrons or nurses may be employed because of the nature of these institutions. School pupils can also avail of educational psychology services, but psychologists are not employed by schools. They constitute a State service known as the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS). Supervision of pupils is undertaken by teachers in the school who, since 2002, obtain extra allowances for such duties. Some schools allocate a post of responsibility for school library purposes, but this does not result in the recruitment of a librarian. Instead, the work is done by a teacher who opts to assist with school library work. Fee-paying schools can avail of State payment of teachers’ salaries but often use some of the income received in student fees to appoint additional staff, such as teaching staff, laboratory assistants, sports coaches etc. Large schools benefit from the services of secretaries, caretakers and maintenance staff, but these are not involved in the educational work of the schools.