Irish Classrooms Most Crowded In Europe, Say Teachers

Irish children learn in some of the most heavily populated classrooms in Europe, according to a leading teachers group.

The teachers have suggested Irish classrooms are the second most crowded in the EU.

And according to primary school staff the government has failed in reducing class sizes, despite repeated promises.

The Irish National Teachers' Organisation has pointed to the Education Department's own figures, which revealed around 100,000 children are taught in classes with more than 30 pupils.

The organisation's General Secretary John Carr said just one in ten children are in classes of less than 20.

However, the Education Department has defended its progress, and said there are now 30 thousand primary school teachers - six thousand more than there were in 2002.

A department spokesperson said 80% of pupils are now in classes of fewer than 30 pupils, making the pupil to teacher ratio 16 to one.

This year the Department is creating an "unprecedented" 7,000 new school place, the spokesperson said, a first in the history of the State.


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