Education Minister fails to provide clarity in DEIS school review
Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe believes clarity is needed from the government over whether it is serious about reversing the threat of budget cuts to teaching posts in DEIS and other schools.
The Dublin South West TD was commenting after challenging education minister, Ruairí Quinn TD on the matter during a meeting of the Dáil’s Education Committee.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“In response to my questions regarding what the review into cuts to DEIS schools hoped to achieve, Minister Quinn again gave vague answers that failed to convince.
“There are serious concerns arising around the substance of the review, particularly in relation to the possible loss of 428 pre-DEIS legacy posts.
The terms of the review are unclear, causing concern that DEIS schools will be forced to compete with one another in order to retain their current staffing levels.
“I sought assurances that the review would not recommend cuts across other key services in the primary school budget but his responses did not inspire confidence that this would be the case.
“At today’s meeting, Minister Quinn came under close scrutiny and there is growing scepticism that the government is serious about protecting schools that are to the fore in tackling educational disadvantage. The growing descent amongst the government back-benchers shows just how badly the minister has handled this matter.
“The current confusion over what is happening is demoralising for teachers, parents and children. Clarity is needed and we need a clear commitment from the minister that DEIS and other schools, which have a proven track record, are protected from budget cuts.
“The minister has already admitted to making a mistake in how he has dealt with this issue. He must not make matters worse by prevaricating after making the decision to hold the review. He needs to realise the gravity of the situation and the impact these cuts will have on some of our most vulnerable children. It is their right to a decent education and a good start in life that must be the priority. Anything less is unacceptable.”