Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Ruairí Quinn

Question:

65 Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the recent call made by the INTO for action to assist primary schools in deprived areas and, in particular, the suggestion that there should be one teacher for every 20 pupils in these areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21740/02]

I am aware of the issue raised by the Deputy.

An Agreed Programme for Government sets out a commitment to continue to reduce the pupil-teacher ratio in our schools, progressively introduce maximum class guidelines which will ensure that the average size of classes for children in junior classes will be below international best practice guidelines of 20:1, and to implement changes to retention and support policies which will assist schools in areas of significant disadvantage to recruit and retain teachers.
I have asked officials of my Department to examine how best this commitment can be implemented over the next five years and to consult with the partners in education in that regard. On completion of that examination and consultation process, decisions will be taken on the appropriate implementation measures and the timing of their introduction.
Question No. 66 answered with Question No. 56.