Income Support Scheme for Substitute Teachers

Date published: 22 January 2021

Education Minister, Peter Weir has introduced a further scheme to help support substitute teachers during the current six-week period of school closures.

Substitute teachers have been unable to access secure work as schools are closed to pupils except for vulnerable children and those of key workers.

The Minister said: “I am fully aware of the significant impact this pandemic continues to have on our pupils, teaching and non-teaching staff.  The issue of funding for substitute teachers who have lost the opportunity to work in schools during the current six-week period of school closures is one that I, and my Department, have been working hard to resolve.

"Today, I am pleased to announce that we will be re-introducing the income support scheme for substitute teachers.

"The estimated total cost of the scheme is around £3.25m.”

Continuing the Minister said: “Substitute teachers in Northern Ireland are a unique group of staff, and the education sector depends on these individuals to be available to cover for absences of permanent teachers.

"This will be welcome news to those staff for whom substitute teaching has been their regular source of income. Their income stopped abruptly when schools were instructed to close to pupils except for vulnerable children and those of key workers, and it is only right that they are not disadvantaged when so many other workers have been able to access the UK-wide furlough scheme.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. The scheme will ensure that eligible substitute teachers engaged between 1 September 2020 and 31 December 2020, (i.e. those receiving earnings most recently, so most impacted by the loss of income), whose earnings fluctuate, will have access to an income for the period 4 January to 14 February 2021. They will receive an additional income through this scheme which will top up their income as a substitute teacher to a level of 80% of that earned in the period September to December 2020.
  2. The scheme will be open for applications between 22 January and 29 January 2021, to support the expectation that eligible substitute teachers will receive payments in March 2021.  Details on how to apply are available on the Department’s website at:
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  5. The Executive Information Service operates an out-of-hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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