Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (186)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire


186. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of reducing the student teacher ratio by one point. [51327/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In the current school year, the numbers employed in our schools have reached the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools have been funded, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes. This builds on the Budget 2018 measure which provided a one point improvement in the staffing schedule in primary schools which brings the position to a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher, the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level.

The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratio show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15.2:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2018/19 school year. Average class sizes at primary level improved from 24.9 to 24.3 in the same period. Corresponding statistics from post primary level show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 13.8:1 to 13:1 at post primary level in the same period.

Teachers are currently allocated to at an average of 1 classroom teacher for every 26 pupils at primary level, and at a ratio of 19:1 in the Free Education System and 23:1 to schools in the fee-charging sector. Each 1 point adjustment to the pupil teacher ratio at primary level is estimated to cost in the region of €14.4m per annum while at post primary the cost would be approximately €55.5m per annum.