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No major difference in quality between large and small schools

English lessons were rated as marginally better in bigger schools, according to a new assessment from the Department of Education.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

THERE IS NO major difference in the quality of teaching delivered at large and small schools, according to a new report commissioned by the Government.

The investigation based on parent and pupil questionnaires and school inspections found small variations between schools of different sizes, but not to a statistically significant level.

It found that English lessons were rated as marginally better in larger schools, but there was no significant difference in the quality of maths teaching.

Meanwhile, parents of children in larger schools were found to have marginally more positive views on the quality of teaching on offer.

Education minister Ruairí Quinn welcomed the document, saying it would feed in to his Department’s assessment of which schools offered the best value for money. He said:

The report shows that while there are, in some cases, differences between small schools and larger schools, in respect of the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, these differences are not directly associated with the size of the school.

He said small schools would continue to be a “major feature of our education landscape”, adding: “I recognise that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities.”

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The report (full pdf here) divided schools into two groups – those with 49 pupils or less, and those with 50 pupils or more.

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Michael Freeman

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