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Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 22 March 2007

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Questions (197, 198)

Seán Crowe

Question:

198 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science the amount that would have to be spent on teachers and school buildings and accommodation to ensure that all primary school children are in classes of 15 pupils to one teacher. [10875/07]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

It is difficult to predict the number of additional posts that will be created because of demographic changes and the uncertainty as to how any increases in enrolment will be spread over individual schools. Schools have flexibility in the way in which they assign pupils and teachers to classes and the Department does not allocate teachers to specific classes or age groups. However, on the basis of current enrolments, it is estimated that in the order of 14,000 additional mainstream teaching posts would be required to reduce class size in all primary schools to 15, at an estimated salary cost of €840million.

Provision of accommodation to cater for these additional teachers would cost an estimated €1,680 million. It should be stressed that the estimated capital cost is tentative because, at this scale of expansion, it is very difficult to estimate the incremental land acquisition costs that would be involved for schools throughout the country.

This does not include provision for the additional costs which would arise if teacher numbers increased in terms of services and training for the additional teachers in the system. This would include the cost of additional inspectors required to carry out inspections (including probation), additional teacher training places required in the teacher education colleges, provision of additional inservice training and the additional administrative costs for the Department of Education and Science associated with processing payment of salary, pension etc for extra teachers. Neither does it include the additional costs on the capital side in terms of ongoing maintenance of any additional classroom accommodation provided. The salary cost given does not include provision for the necessary pension costs which would increase the salary cost by approximately 25%-30% per annum.

Seán Crowe

Question:

199 Mr. Crowe asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of extra teachers needed for the Government to achieve a 20:1 ratio for all children in primary school. [10876/07]

View answer

It is difficult to predict the number of additional posts that will be created because of demographic changes and the uncertainty as to how any increases in enrolment will be spread over individual schools. Schools have flexibility in the way in which they assign pupils and teachers to classes and the Department does not allocate teachers to specific classes or age groups.

The pupil teacher ratio in primary schools in the 2005/06 school year was 17:1. The ratio for the current school year is not yet available. However, on the basis of current enrolments, it is estimated that in the order of 5,800 additional mainstream teaching posts would be required to reduce class size in all primary schools to 20.

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