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1,000 children to leave school before secondary level this year – Doherty

3 September, 2009 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Approximately 1,000 children will not transfer into secondary this year and will be left to fall through the cracks according to Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Senator Pearse Doherty.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, “Over 1,000 twelve year olds will not start secondary school this week. Of those who do 18% of them will drop out before completing their leaving cert and 4% will not even complete the junior certificate. Now that the pupil retention schemes have been cut the fallout rate is set to increase dramatically in the coming years.

“What kind of an education system allows over 1,000 12 year old children to fall through the cracks? These are some of the most vulnerable children in our society and they deserve better attention than they are currently receiving. Unfortunately however, the cuts coming into effect this week reflect the Government’s attitude to these kids and shows that they would rather bail out their banker and developer friends than provide for the children of the state.

“The culture of oversized classes with teachers under so much pressure that they can’t afford to give time to individual children has had a direct impact on the numbers of early school leavers. With cuts coming into effect in both primary and secondary schools this week more and more vulnerable children will be left to fall between the cracks.

“This government puts about lofty notions of building a knowledge economy, investing in science and technology but the reality is that it has delivered an education system which has been stripped bare and ignores those most at risk or early school leaving.

“Government policy on education is seriously flawed. It is one that rewards those with who are able to pay their way through school and punishes those who can’t.

“How many more children will be left by the wayside? More and more cuts will only hurt more and more vulnerable children. This must be stopped and the reality is that Fianna Fáil must be put out of power and a new Government, one which cherishes the value of educating our children, must be established. Today’s poll makes for interesting reading, however we need an election at the earliest opportunity. The longer this Government remains in power the longer it will take to repair the damage it is doing to our society.” ENDS

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