Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (640)

Bernard Durkan


640. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he envisages the reduction of class sizes and pupil teacher ratios at both primary and secondary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34652/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes.

The current teacher allocation ratio at primary level is at its lowest ever, at a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher.  The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratio show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15.3:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2017/18 school year.  It is expected that the one point improvement in the staffing schedule, implemented in September 2018, will further improve the overall ratio of teacher to students.

A pupil teacher ratio (ptr) of 19:1 is applied to all second-level schools in the Free-Education System.  A ptr of 23:1 is applied to the 52 schools in the fee-charging sector.  Each 1 point adjustment to the pupil teacher ratio at post primary level is estimated to cost in the region of €63m per annum.

Any additional improvement in the pupil teacher ratio would have to be considered as part of the annual budgetary process, alongside the many other demands from the education sector.