John Boyle has been an INTO activist throughout his career in teaching. He was staff representative and a member of branch committee in the late 80’s when teacher unemployment, low salaries, increasing class sizes and interest rate hikes were pressing issues for our members. John represented his branch at annual Congress for 18 years and served as Branch and District Cathaoirleach. As branch Cathaoirleach John played a pivotal role in support of the controversial PPF National Agreement. His branch was one of the largest branches to support the agreement, which subsequently brought much needed and long-awaited salary increases to public servants ( Benchmarking 1). John was elected to serve nearly 3,000 teachers in Tallaght, South County Dublin, Craobh Chualann, Craobh Dhun Laoghaire,Blessington, Wicklow, Arklow and Rathdrum on the Central Executive committee annually from 2004 to 2016.
While serving on the CEC, John worked tirelessly in support of members in the very, large District VIII. He represented members in nearly 300 schools across the South Dublin and Wicklow areas, not forgetting the couple of schools in Kildare and Wexford. John took on the role with evangelical zeal. He became well know and highly respected for his dogged determined pursuit of justice for INTO members, who needed his support.
He has been very prominent in several union campaigns. In the early days on the CEC, he supported the INTOs efforts to gain thousands of extra teaching posts to facilitate the inclusion of children with special educational needs and children of new Irish families in our schools. He led the annual call for class size reductions in his District - a District where class sizes have traditionally been high. The decrease from 30 pupils per class when he joined the CEC to this coming September's 26 pupils per teacher has been very satisfying for him (importantly these class size reductions also enabled thousands of new entrant teachers to remain in Ireland). John recently called on Minister Bruton to continue annual class size reductions throughout the Government's term of office so that Ireland will reach the EU average by 2021 at the latest.
In 2007 John was centrally involved In the INTO input to the Second Benchmarking Body. He was one of the Administrative Principals interviewed by the Benchmarking Body and he was present when the INTO made its oral submission. John spoke passionately stating at this year's annual congress that the settling of this long-standing debt to school leaders will continue to be a top priority for him. John has served on a plethora of internal INTO committees.
Throughout his career he has placed a huge emphasis on supporting new members. After graduating in 1986 John gave solid support to thousands of young teachers, who struggled with the casualisation of primary teaching. While his local community was ravaged by emigration, John felt that after investing in teacher training, the powers that were North and South had not been serious about keeping young teachers on the island of Ireland. The introduction of the Supplementary Panel and the provision of incremental credit for substitute work, secured by INTO, greatly eased the pressure on new entrant teachers. In the following decades John continued to work to improve the lives of young teachers. He strongly supported the campaign for the new promotional system based on meritocracy, which brought thousands of additional posts of responsibility in 1997. Since the moratorium on promotions introduced in 2009, John and members in his District have been to the forefront in seeking amelioration and then the ending of this draconian budgetary measure. He is confident of success on that score during his Vice-Presidency.
The defence of designated disadvantaged and small schools has also been a key issue for John. When the 2011-2016 Government attacked these schools John and fellow members of the CEC took up the mantle, organising public protest marches. John met key government Ministers, after which the DEIS cuts were reversed. He has been very vociferous on the unfair treatment of smaller schools and is determined to ensure that class sizes in schools where there is multi-class teaching are restored to previous levels and then further reduced.
Since 2011 John Boyle has campaigned solidly for one single salary scale for teachers. When the Haddington Road Agreement was being considered by members John strongly recommended acceptance of the agreement as a protective strategy at a time of great turmoil in the Irish economy. He was prepared to take the lead, recognising that there was significant pay restoration included for new entrant teachers, despite huge penalties being applied to his own family income and to the incomes of more senior teachers. John is a member of the INTO Pay Equality Project Team. He has taken great pride in the Trojan work of the Project Team and is very hopeful of achieving pay equality in the very near future.
INTO Branches North and South nominated John to the position of INTO Vice-President in the Spring of 2016. Our members in Northern Ireland have experienced huge difficulties due to stringent public service cuts alongside increasing workload. John has offered his full support and solidarity tithe Northern Committee and officials as Vice-President.
John has focussed his attention on a number of critical education/equality issues in recent months - Pay Equalisation, Equal School Funding, Equal Remuneration for Primary School Leaders, Plurality of School Provision, Positive Discrimination for DEIS Scholols, Gaeltacht Schools & Small Schools and extra investment in teaching North & South to name but a few priority areas. He will continue pursuing these and various other INTO objectives by working diligently with and for members in the months ahead.
John Boyle will lead from the front in a determined effort to keep teachers work and lives balanced, to substantially increase teachers wages and improve teachers conditions of service. He will be An INTO President Who Will Make Teachers Proud