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School Staff

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (406, 407)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Ceist:

406. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education the estimated cost of a reduction of one at all points of the staffing schedule for primary schools from September 2022; and the net number of teaching posts involved in view of her Department’s predictions of a continuing fall in primary school enrolments. [29342/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Ceist:

407. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education her plans to reduce class sizes in primary schools in budget 2022 in view of the finding in the statistical bulletin of July 2020 of her Department that there has been little change in average class size in primary schools over the past 20 years and her public comments in support of further reducing class sizes. [29343/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 406 and 407 together.

Under the Programme for Government there is a commitment to seek to make further progress in reducing the pupil teacher ratios in primary schools.

For the 2021/22 school year, an improvement of one point in the appointment threshold in primary schools has been introduced and schools will be provided with class teachers on the basis of of 1 teacher for every 25 pupils which is a historical low ratio. Lower thresholds are in place for DEIS Urban Band 1 schools. In addition, a three point reduction in the retention scale has also been introduced for September 2021. These measures will help to ensure that less pupils are required to recruit or retain a teacher.

The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratio show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2019/20 school year. Average class sizes improved from 24.9 to 24.1 in the same period. The recent improvement in the staffing schedule will continue the positive trend of improvement in the pupil teacher ratio and class sizes.

Each one point adjustment to the primary staffing schedule requires in the region of 300 posts, at an approximate cost of €14.5 million.

Any further improvement in the staffing schedule will be considered in the context of the annual budgetary process.

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