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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 28 January 2021

School cuts will lead to 'huge increases' in class sizes, teachers say

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation has strongly criticised staffing cuts set out by Minister Ruairí Quinn.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

PROPOSED CUTS TO staffing levels in small schools will lead to “huge increases” in class sizes, a union representing teachers has warned.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation said the changes would affect up to 100 schools across Ireland, some of which would face reductions in teacher numbers even as pupil enrolment rose sharply.

““Last September, a school with 50 pupils could have expected three teachers next year. The budget changes mean that school will only have two teachers,” INTO general secretary Sheila Nunan said.

She added that basing the teacher allocations on pupil numbers in September 2011 would mean they are out of date. Nunan cited one school in Dunmanway, Co Cork which had 50 pupils in September 2011 but expected to have 60 by September this year.

She said that this school would still stand to go from three teachers to two under the proposed measures.

INTO is proposing that existing smaller schools could be “repopulated”, rather than expanding larger schools in urban areas.

The criticisms come a day before Fianna Fáil introduces a private member’s bill condemning the cuts. The measure, which TDs will debate tomorrow evening, says small schools are “at the heart of communities”.

It also calls on the Government to “explain the rationale for this decision [to make cuts] and publish any impact analysis carried out by the Department of Education and Skills in relation to this decision and the effect it will have on 1, 2, 3 and 4 teacher schools.”

More: School cuts could lead to death of rural Ireland, councillor warns>

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Michael Freeman

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