Written Answers. - Clones (Monaghan) School.

William Cotter

Ceist:

88 Mr. Cotter asked the Minister for Education if her attention has been drawn to the fact that there are over 35 children in three infant classes in St. Louis junior school, Clones, County Monaghan, and that in the other four classes in the school there are over 30 pupils in each room; her views on whether this situation is satisfactory; and if she will make a statement on the matter.

The board of management of this school have not applied for sanction to appoint an additional assistant teacher.

As the Deputy will be aware there is an agreement between the Government and the INTO regarding the staffing of national schools.

As part of this agreement my Department have implemented a reduction of one unit in the enrolment/staffing schedule for national schools from 1 September, 1990. This agreement has led to an improvement in the pupil/teacher ratio in national schools for the 1990-91 school year.

Under existing arrangements negotiated under the auspices of the central review committee, school authorities, in particular the principal teacher, are responsible for arranging the organisation of the school so as to ensure that no class group exceeds the following guidelines set down by my Department: 39 (in the case of a single-grade class-group); 38 (in the case of a class-group with two consecutive grades) and 35 (in the case of a multi-grade class-group).

The enrolment in the school on 30 September, 1990 was 240. The staff comprises seven teachers — principal and six assistants.

It is possible to organise the current enrolment of this school to remain within the maximum class size guidelines.

The issue of class sizes in national schools will be reviewed in the context of ongoing discussions under the programme for economic and social development.