As the Deputy is aware the staffing of primary schools is determined by reference to the enrolment of the school on 30 September of the previous school year. This is in accordance with guidelines agreed between this Department and the education partners.
The enrolment at the school in question decreased from 211 pupils on 30 September 1998 to 195 pupils on the 30 September 1999. This latter enrolment warrants the staffing of a principal and six mainstream classroom for the 2000-01 school year. The school also has the services of two posts because of the school's disadvantaged status, two learning support teachers and a home-school liaison teacher. An enrolment of 205 pupils on 30 September 1999 was required in order to retain the seventh mainstream class teacher for the 2000-01 school year.
The organisation of classes within a school is a matter for the school authorities.
An official from my Department visited the school recently and reported on the staffing position. I regret that the inspector reported no extenuating circumstances in the school beyond those catered for by the five extra teachers outlined above, which would warrant the appointment of an additional mainstream class teacher for the 2000-2001 school year.