Primary schools are currently provided with class teachers on the basis of one teacher for every 26 pupils which is at its historically lowest level. Budget 2021 builds on this progress by implementing a further 1 point reduction for the appointment of a teacher in the 2021/22 school year and a three point reduction in the retention schedule. These measures will help to ensure that less pupils are required to recruit or retain a teacher.
The staffing schedule for the 2021/22 school year will be published shortly. It is at this stage that schools will be able to establish their staffing for the coming school year on the basis of enrolments in September 2020. The staffing arrangements also include a staffing appeal mechanism and a developing post application process which allows for schools to be allocated posts on the basis of projected enrolments.
I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is aware of increasing pressures and demand for additional school places in a number of school planning areas.
Where capacity issues arise it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:
- Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area
- School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area
- Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school these are not available to all pupils
- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area
Similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action including, where required, the provision of modular accommodation solutions.