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Carlow Principal calls for more support for school secretaries

Simon Lewis of Carlow Educate Together is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with colleagues

A Carlow Principal’s pledging to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with school secretaries.

It’s emerged in the past few days that pay and conditions for those in the role have still not be regularised despite Norma Foley pledging to commit to doing just that when she took up the office of Education Minister last year.

Simon Lewis of Carlow Educate Together says that the issue goes to the heart of every educational facility, telling KCLR News “School secretaries, as anyone working in a school will know, are definitely the most important person working there, they’re the first person that people meet and the last that people see before they leave the school and what they don’t do, I suppose, is not worth talking about, they do absolutely everything and unfortunately, they’re also the poorest paid member of staff in the school and in fact they’re not even paid by the Department of Education unlike most other members of staff, they’re paid out of a grant which means that in every school you’ll have a secretary on a different wage and it’s usually by the hour and it’s usually just above minimum wage”.

He adds “Back in October after many, many years of campaigning Norma Foley announced shortly after she took up her post that she was going to commit to regularise secretary pay and conditions and talks started this week and it turns out for all the talk secretaries are being left on a limb yet again”.

Mr Lewis outlines what he’d like to see happen; “Secretaries should be paid a common wage, paid directly by the Department of Education with the same rights as anyone working in a school that includes pension, it includes pay throughout the year not what happens now where secretaries have to sign on every summer and things like that just like any public servant should be paid it’s as simple as that as far as I’d be concerned”

And he has this plea to others: “Anybody who has a connection with their local school and if they don’t know about it hopefully people like me speaking out might get to spread the word but once you know it’s time to contact your TD, time to contact your representative and get this sorted, it’s being going on for far too long”.