As the Deputy will be aware there is an agreement between the Government and the INTO regarding the staffing of national schools.
As part of this agreement my Department have implemented a reduction of one unit in the enrolment-staffing schedule for national schools from 1 September 1990. This agreement has led to an improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio in national schools for the 1990-91 school year.
Under existing arrangements negotiated under the auspices of the Central Review Committee, school authorities, in particular the principal teacher, are responsible for arranging the organisation of the school so as to ensure that no class group exceeds the following guidelines set down by my Department: 39 (in the case of a single-grade class-group); 38 (in the case of a class-group with two consecutive grades) and 35 (in the case of a multi-grade class-group.
The enrolment at Shercock national school on 30 September 1990 was 184. Staff consists of six teachers — a principal and five assistants.
I understand that there are no classes at this school in breach of the maximum class size guidelines. The board of management of this school have not applied for sanction to appoint an additional assistant teacher.
The issue of class sizes in national schools will be reviewed in the context of ongoing discussions under theProgramme for Economic and Social Development.