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Quinn announces review of cuts to DEIS teacher numbers

Education minister Ruairí Quinn says he will seek a report on the Budget’s impact on teaching posts in disadvantaged schools.

Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

EDUCATION MINISTER Ruairí Quinn has announced a formal review of the Budget’s proposed cuts to the number of teachers in disadvantaged schools, following pressure from the opposition.

Quinn has given his department four weeks to compile a report on the position of some ‘DEIS’ (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools to see how they are affected by cuts announced last month.

The announcement came after Sinn Féin insisted that 428 primary school teaching jobs – and another 163 secondary school jobs – would be lost from DEIS schools given the planned increases in pupil-teacher ratios in some schools.

Junior primary schools in ‘Band One’ schools – which have the most disadvantage – were to see their pupil-teacher ratio from 15 to 18 pupils per teacher, while ‘Band Two’ schools will see the ratio increase from 24 pupils per teacher up to 28.

“There should be no question of dismantling guidance provision; undermining rural schools and above all there should be no question of damaging or disrupting DEIS school system,” deputy president Mary Lou McDonald said.

“There are legacies at play here, legacies of inequality and if this government was worth its salt it would address them without fear of the EU or IMF.”

Sinn Féin’s motion calling on the government to reverse the Budget’s cuts won with significant support from independent TDs, but was easily defeated by the government’s massive majority in the Dáil this lunchtime.

News of the review indicates that a second aspect of the Budget’s cost-cutting may now be reviewed, following the furore that surrounded the proposed cuts to domiciliary care allowances for young people.

Sinn Féin TD Jonathan O’Brien told the Dáil, however, that he feared the review was merely a cover to soothe some back-bench Labour TDs and ensure that they voted with the government on that side.

In full: Brendan Howlin’s Budget 2012 announcement

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Gavan Reilly

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