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Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 13 January 2016

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Questions (806)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

806. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills how many new primary school teachers will have to be employed in each of the next five years, from 2016-2017 to 2021-2022, to maintain the 27:1 pupil-teacher ratio. [1156/16]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012). The deployment of teaching staff in the school, the range of subjects offered and ultimately the quality of teaching and learning are in the first instance a matter for the school management authorities.

We have a growing population of young people in this country and despite the difficult financial circumstances we face as a country, we prioritised education so that the number of teachers we have in the system has also grown in order to protect pupil teacher ratios. This has involved an increase of around 3,100 teaching posts in our primary and post-primary schools over the last two years. This is a very significant investment at a time of scarce resources.

The Deputy will be aware that I have made provision in Budget 2016 for some 2,260 additional teaching posts for our primary and post primary schools next year. This includes an estimated 440 posts at primary level to cater for increased demographics.

At primary level there will be a one point improvement to the primary staffing schedule to be implemented for the 2016/17 school year. This will see the primary staffing schedule operate on the basis of a general average of 1 classroom teacher for every 27 pupils. Lower thresholds apply for DEIS Band 1 schools. The estimated additional post requirement in 2016 for this improvement is 300 posts. The improved staffing schedule is currently available on the Department website.

Increasing demographics at primary level are expected to peak in 2018 with an annual estimated requirement of circa 350 posts per annum to maintain the 27:1 general average. Declining enrolments at primary level in the following three years could potentially reduce the post requirement by circa 800 posts over the three year period.

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