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Primary teachers warn against Budget cuts to disadvantaged schools

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation says Ruairí Quinn must learn from the furore over last year’s cuts to Deis schools.

A banner held by a demonstrator against proposed cuts to teaching jobs in Deis schools last year.
A banner held by a demonstrator against proposed cuts to teaching jobs in Deis schools last year.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

THE TRADE UNION representing primary school teachers has warned education minister Ruairí Quinn not to try and cut the resources of disadvantaged schools in December’s Budget – saying the minister should learn from previous attempts.

Noel Ward of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) said Quinn should heed the warnings of the last Budget, when he was forced to abandon proposed cuts to the number of teachers at designated disadvantaged ‘DEIS’ schools.

Quinn had proposed last year to remove ‘legacy’ posts – extra teaching jobs assigned to disadvantaged schools before the DEIS system, which ensures a lower teacher-pupil ratio, was introduced – but backed down after significant disquiet.

“Any attempt to revisit the cutting of designated schools in our poorest communities and in particular cutting early education in those schools this year will be strongly resisted by my union,” the INTO’s deputy general secretary said.

“If equality is truly a core value, the Minister will not go there,” he added, paying tribute to those who had campaigned to stop the proposed cuts last year.

In particular, Ward warned against possible cuts to the Early Start preschool programme, which he said had been identified as a potential operation to cut last year and which ‘remained on the menu’ for this December’s cuts.

Ward was speaking at a TASC conference on education reform in Croke Park, when he argued that the public services had been caused damage by a economic crisis brought about by a collapse in the private sector.

Read: Ruairí Quinn reverses 235 legacy post cuts from DEIS primary schools

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Gavan Reilly

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