Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (27)

Bernard Durkan


27. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he expects to be in a position to retain workable levels of pupil-teacher ratios in all schools throughout the country, primary and post-primary, private and public, religious and non-denominational, keeping in mind the need to maintain adequate capitation levels; if he accepts that variations already exist in this regard within both the private and the public school sector and between both and the desirability of the need to recognise the difficulties faced at this time of economic stress; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32224/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Decisions about staffing and capitation levels for schools have to be considered in the context that my Department, like all other Government Departments, is operating in the context of a budgetary programme that is designed to put the public finances on a sustainable footing. A particular challenge in the education sector is the on-going significant increases in demographics across all levels which are resulting in a requirement for up to 900 additional teachers in the coming school year. I acknowledge the challenges faced by schools in managing the overall impact of budgetary measures over the last 4 years. Budget 2012 provided for an overall reduction of 2% in the funding for capitation and related grants to primary and second level schools in 2012 and 2013 and a further reduction of 1% in 2014 and 2015. In the most recent budget the Government confined staffing measures to the fee-charging sector and protected schools in the free scheme from any changes in pupil-teacher ratios. The DEIS scheme for disadvantaged schools was also fully protected with no overall changes to staffing levels or funding as a result of the budget.