Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (249)

Terence Flanagan


249. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the concerns of parents that their childrens' school bags are too heavy with the weight of all the school books needed for class; the steps that can be taken to address this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5534/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department issued circulars to all primary and post-primary schools in 2005 to highlight the potential health hazard of overweight schoolbags and to outline a range of local measures that could be put in place to help alleviate the problem. The circulars referred to the recommendations of the previously published report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags. This report acknowledged that many of the solutions to this issue belong at local school level and made various recommendations in this regard, such as optimum use of storage facilities, developing pupil organisation skills and timetabling. It is a matter for each individual school to determine which particular measures are most suited to its individual circumstances and to how the school concerned organises teaching and learning. The circulars (PC 13/05 and M35/05) and the report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags are available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.