Up To 64% Of Schools May Drop Leaving Cert Subjects

Sixty-four per cent of second-level schools are considering dropping one or more subjects from their Leaving Cert programme as a result of Budget 2012 education cuts, a study commissioned by the ASTI has found.

The Leaving Cert subjects most likely to be dropped by schools in September 2012 are accounting, chemistry, physics, and economics. Amalgamation of higher, ordinary and foundation level classes is another likely response to Budget cuts. Fifty-seven per cent of schools indicated that they are likely to amalgamate some classes at Leaving Cert level. Thirty-two per cent said they are considering amalgamating some 5th and 6th year classes.

As part of Budget 2012 it was announced that second-level schools will no longer receive an ex-quota teacher allocation for guidance counselling. This equates to an increase in the pupil-teacher ratio of approximately .8. It means there will be approximately 700 less second-level teachers in September 2012.

The research, carried out by Millward Brown Lansdowne for the ASTI, found that schools are also considering reducing students’ access to guidance counselling services as a result of Budget 2012. Seven in 10 schools are likely to reduce guidance provision by an average 7.8 hours per week.

The 2% reduction in the school capitation grant in September, also announced as part of Budget 2012, will result in many schools dropping school events such as tours and trips and postponing school building maintenance work. Most schools have already implemented these and other measures as a result of previous cuts to the capitation grant.

The study found that that 47% of schools surveyed have already dropped one or more subjects at Leaving Cert level as a result of education cutbacks implemented since 2009. Of the schools that have dropped subjects from their Leaving Cert programme, 23% dropped accountancy, 23% dropped economics and 21% dropped physics.

Second-level schools have lost an average of 1.6 fulltime teaching posts as a result of cuts to teacher numbers, according to the survey. This is despite the fact that pupil numbers increased by almost 15,000 between 2009 and 2011.


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