Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Questions (197)

Mattie McGrath


197. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of small schools countrywide that are in a similar position to a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary which lost a teacher because it was one pupil short of the required number of 86 needed for next September; the financial benefit of this to the Exchequer; if there was a freeze on the pupil-teacher ratio for the 2014-2015 year, what it would cost the Exchequer; the maximum pupil-teacher ratio for small schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22198/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

There were five primary schools which had an enrolment of 85 pupils on 30 September 2013. Three of these schools submitted appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board to retain their existing level for the 2014/15 school year on the basis of a projected enrolment of at least 86 pupils in September 2014. Each of these appeals were provisionally upheld by the Appeals Board and the three schools will not, therefore, be losing a teaching post subject to confirmation of their actual enrolments in September 2014. In relation to the two remaining schools, one has submitted an appeal to the next meeting of the Appeals Board in June. If the other school is projecting an enrolment of at least 86 pupils for September 2014 then it may also submit an appeal to the Appeals Board.

The final phase of the budget measure is being implemented as part of the staffing arrangements for schools for the 2014/15 school year. The precise amount of savings that will arise from this phase of the budget measure will be known in the Autumn when the allocations process has fully completed and any appeals to the remaining meetings of the Staffing Appeals Board have been considered.

The staffing schedule operates on the basis of enrolment bands which specify the minimum and maximum number of pupils for the allocation of classroom teachers. The maximum number of pupils in the enrolment band for a 1-teacher school is 19 pupils, 55 pupils for a 2-teacher school and 85 pupils for a 3-teacher school. The staffing schedule sets out the lower thresholds which apply in the case of Deis Band 1 schools.