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School Staff

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (409)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

409. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education if she will address a matter (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29469/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.  The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

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.  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.

My Department has published a suite of helpful guidance for the safe and sustainable operation of schools including illustrative Primary Classroom Layouts to facilitate physical distancing requirements for primary schools. Each school should use their COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe operation through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in line with the public health advice. This guidance is focused on the practical steps school must take to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.

The configuration of classes and the deployment of classroom teachers are done at local school level. The Department's guidance to schools is that the number of pupils in any class is kept as low as possible taking all relevant contextual factors into account (e.g. classroom accommodation, fluctuating enrolment etc.).  

The staffing process contains an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Primary Staffing Appeals Board. My Department has not received a staffing appeal from the school referred to by the Deputy.  The next meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board will be held in June.  The Primary Staffing Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.

Question No. 410 answered with Question No. 385.
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