Staff working in the school completion programme (SCP) should be transferred to education training boards (ETB) or the child and family agency Tusla to underpin governance and give national leadership to the service, according to Fórsa.
In a submission to an Oireachtas education committee investigation into issues affecting non-teaching education staff, the union said SCP employees should also be given the same employment status as other public servants.
The majority of SCP staff are employed by voluntary organisations with local boards of management. Despite providing vital services to children and communities, they are not deemed to be public servants.
Fórsa has been seeking a firm statutory basis for the programme with a national management structure and adequate funding for services, pay and access to a pension scheme.
The SCP’s 248 full-time staff and 627 part-time staff give direct support to over 36,000 young people at risk of poor school attendance and participation. Its annual budget was cut from almost €33 million to less than €25 million in 2010.
“This budget has not increased in any way and staff have who experienced pay cuts due to reduced funding have not benefited from any pay restoration. Fórsa has raised these issues with the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and Tusla,” according to the union’s paper.