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Dublin: 8 °C Tuesday 21 January, 2020

Kerry school closes after 47 days with no pupils

The principal of the school in Clonkeen has been paid for the last seven weeks despite having nobody to teach.

File photo
File photo
Image: my_southborough via Flickr

LOCAL ADMINISTRATORS have finally closed a rural school in Co Kerry which had a teacher but no pupils.

The principal of Scoil Mhuire in Clonkeen has been paid for the last seven weeks despite no students having enrolled this year. The teacher will now be transferred to another school in the area.

Diocesan authorities said a submission had been made to the Department of Education on September 30 informing officials that there were no pupils and requesting the school’s closure.

The primary school had 12 pupils two years ago, but only three last year.

Announcing the “immediate closure” of the school yesterday, Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy said: “As a result of demographic changes in the area, demand no longer exists to support the viability of the school.”

In a statement last night, the Department of Education said Bishop Murphy “has this evening advised the Department of his decision to close the school with immediate effect.”

The statement added that the teacher would be reassigned “following completion of administrative work associated with the school’s closure”.

Recently, it emerged that 85 per cent of Irish pupils are in classes larger than the EU average, with around a quarter of classrooms catering to 30 or more children. The government has announced plans to increase the pupil-to-teacher ratio from 29:1 to 30:1.

Read more: 85 per cent of primary pupils ‘in classes larger than EU average’>

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Michael Freeman

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