27 Aug 2018, 14.20

Parents, principals, teachers unions, management bodies and department officials will detail the many challenges facing Ireland’s school system at a special two-day sitting this week of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills.

Over the course of Wednesday and Thursday, 18 organisations and Government departments will make presentations and answer Members’ questions on the pressures that face primary and secondary schools reopening nationwide.

The three-part discussion is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House and resume at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Both days’ deliberations can be viewed live on Oireachtas TV here and on Android and Apple devices using the Houses of the Oireachtas app.

The first section Wednesday focuses on whether Ireland’s school-building programme meets demand and, if not, what can be done to improve planning and delivery, including the development and retention of green spaces for play.

Wednesday’s second section explores the pressures that principals face as they manage overstretched school staffing and resources while, in many cases, they also conduct their own classes.

On Thursday, charities, parents associations and school management bodies will detail the rising private costs that parents must finance themselves as their children attend State-funded schools.

“With the arrival of a new school year comes the need to focus on improving the State’s provision of educational services. All parties agree we can and should do more as a society. This week the Committee will seek to identify solutions and areas for needed reform with help from a comprehensive array of witnesses,” said Committee Chair Fiona O’Loughlin TD.

“The challenging circumstances that many parents, principals and school planning bodies face require our urgent understanding and assistance. Any shortfall in providing sufficient support to school facilities and staff ultimately denies schoolchildren the chance to achieve their full potential. Our hearings will serve to highlight these issues,” Deputy O’Loughlin said.

The organisations scheduled to appear before the Committee are:

  • Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools 
  • Joint Managerial Body (JMB) for voluntary secondary schools 
  • Catholic Primary Schools Management Association 
  • St. Catherine's National School in Dublin 8 
  • Our Lady's Grove Concerned Parents' Group in Dublin 14 
  • Irish National Teachers' Organisation 
  • Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland 
  • Teachers' Union of Ireland 
  • Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government 
  • Department of Education and Skills 
  • Irish Primary Principals' Network 
  • National Principals' Forum 
  • National Parents Council Primary 
  • National Parents Council Post-Primary 
  • Barnardos children’s charity 
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul 
  • One Family, the national organisation for one-parent families 
  • Irish League of Credit Unions

Media enquiries

Shawn Pogatchnik,
Houses of the Oireachtas,
Communications Unit,
Leinster House,
Dublin 2
+353 1 618 4203
+353 86 701 3295
shawn.pogatchnik@oireachtas.ie
Twitter: @OireachtasNews

Committee membership

Deputies

Fianna Fáil

Green Party

Fianna Fáil

Senators

Fine Gael

Fianna Fáil

Sinn Féin

Independent