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Classroom Brain Drain: Five Irish teachers on leaving for Britain

AS the number of Irish teachers flocking to work in Britain doubles, The Irish Post talks to teachers with first hand experience of the difficulties faced by newly qualified teachers in Ireland.

Nicola Walsh

“I don’t expect to be able to return to Ireland any time soon”

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Name: Nicola Walsh

Age: 25

From: Castlebar, Co. Mayo.

Background: Graduated in May 2011 from the National University of Ireland in Galway with a teaching qualification and undergraduate degree in English and German.

Employment: Teaches English at the Harris Academy Merton secondary school, Surrey.


“Despite being quite lucky to have an aunt who is a secondary school principal, she informed me quite quickly that a permanent teaching job in Ireland would be extremely difficult to come by.

I was aware that in order to become fully registered with the Teaching Council, I had to complete 300 hours of classroom time. Engage Education came to a careers fair at our university in early May 2011 and they talked me through the processes of teaching in England. I have always loved London and so I talked it through with my family and it seemed the best career move.

I had been getting some work as a substitute teacher before I left, but this was varying from a full week to nothing at all. The uncertainty of it – especially with student loans – meant that I needed to secure something permanent, both for my financial stability and to get registered with the Teaching Council as soon as possible.

I’m not aware of anyone from my course that has a permanent position in a secondary school. The majority are subbing and covering maternity leave or are unsure if they will have a job after June. Once I moved to London it was clear that there were loads of Irish teachers over here. In my school, there are six!

I don’t think returning home within the next few years is an option. Things don’t look like they are getting better in Ireland, yet they still continue to churn out the same amount of teachers each year.”


Niall O Sullivan

Niall O’Sullivan is a reporter at The Irish Post. You can follow him on @Niall_IrishPost on Twitter

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One comment on “Classroom Brain Drain: Five Irish teachers on leaving for Britain”

  1. Bremeline Muthurajah

    Mr. Grimes was the best substitute teacher I ever had. He always took the apple I brought him to school..he read to me everyday and helped me with my I can read confidently.


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