Govt Education Spend Will 'Do Nothing' To Tackle Class Sizes - FF

The government proposal to fund 1,000 extra teachers will "do nothing" to improve rising class sizes, Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue has said.

Deputy McConalogue was commenting after reports suggested that Minister Jan O’Sullivan will be allocated funds to recruit more teachers, but the deputy said that the additional posts will not address the increasing pupil-teacher ratios.

"While the move to appoint more teachers is welcome, the Government’s plan is utterly insufficient. These additional posts, which will be shared out between primary and secondary schools will fail to have any impact on class sizes. The number of students attending school has increased and the allocation of these teachers will only maintain the status quo," Deputy McConalogue said.

Adding: "Fianna Fáil has taken a far more targeted approach in addressing the problem in our pre-Budget submission. We aim to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio from 28:1 to 27:1 across the board at primary level. There are too many over-crowded primary school classes and while we acknowledge that the problem cannot be fixed overnight, there needs to be a concerted effort to begin the process of improvement in this budget. By focusing additional teaching resources at primary level we ensure the best possible start for our children.

"Not only is my party committed to reducing class sizes, we want to go further. We’re proposing to increase resource teaching hours and provide more guidance counsellors. This Government has eroded many of the positive advances that had been made in education by previous administrations. Former Minister Ruairi Quinn’s brought in a number of regressive measures over the past three budgets, including cuts to guidance counsellors and small primary schools.

"Minister Jan O’Sullivan must deviate from the punitive measures implemented by her predecessor and ensure that education is made a priority for this Government. Fianna Fáil has a proud tradition of emphasising education spending, and the Fine Gael-Labour coalition needs to adopt a policy which realises the importance and value of education funding."


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