How more outrageous and arrogant can the teaching profession in Northern Ireland become? On the heel of shocking revelations over thousands of retired and redundant teachers displacing their newly qualified colleagues comes news on teachers’ appalling sickness records.


As usual the blame from these so-called professionals’ poor performance is displaced onto the DENI or more cynically onto the parents and pupils.


Michelle McIlveen of the DUP misses the point about the answer entirely. Teachers take the time off because they can. There is no accountability because teachers are treated like some delicate commodity unable to withstand public scrutiny. They are paid generously from what they must believe is a bottomless pit of public money. The N.I. Assembly should introduce into legislation a scheme whereby incentives are paid to teachers who attend (perhaps a certificate) and  withhold payment from the no-shows. What sort of example does this absenteeism send to pupils except to reinforce a “sickie” culture.?  Perhaps Michelle McIlveen’s next question to the Assembly needs to be: “How many teachers were sacked by employers in the last five years due to poor attendance records?”


Frank Bunting, the INTO representative who never seems to be out of the media, threatens the public that it could be much worse. As usual his hyperbole is about extracting more money and concessions out of the taxpayer. It does not assist when MLAs assist in perpetuating the poor performance of teachers by their misinterpreting of answers. The teachers and their unions are overrepresented in Stormont and feed information through favoured political representatives willing to act like their pets.

One can only imagine the chaos in the health service if doctors and dentists adopted the same practices as teachers?

Perhaps Mr Bunting and his teaching union colleagues should abandon their failed campaign to introduce comprehensive education against the wishes of the majority of the public. Initiatives such as the Pupil Profile, Assessment for Learning and the Revised Curriculum are the very thing Mr Bunting complains about. Teachers permit their varied professional views be expressed by union leaders. When will they learn public accountability?


 Perhaps then Bunting’s members could return to schools after their lengthy summer break prepared to do the job they are employed to do- teach.