Crowe attends Irish Primary Principals Network conference in Dublin
The Sinn Féin education spokesperson Seán Crowe TD this week attended the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN) conference in Dublin.
Deputy Crowe commended the organisers of the event and said that the conference provided an opportunity for the participants to engage with education minister Ruairí Quinn on a range of issues.
Deputy Crowe said:
“It is clear that there is wide-spread concern among teachers that continuing cuts to the primary school sector is undermining their capacity to deliver the school curriculum and ensure the children under their care receive a decent education.
“There was a silent protest inside the conference centre by principals who are very concerned that budget changes to the staffing schedule will force many small rural schools to close.
“It is wrong that the Government’s only priority seems to be to introduce cuts in order to reduce spending. Small schools are at the heart of many rural communities and alternatives to closures and amalgamations should be considered, such as the possibility of repopulating existing schools rather than forcing pupils down the route of constantly expanding larger schools.
“Forcing schools to amalgamate is bad enough, but to push ahead with this policy when little or no provision is being made by the Department to ensure new buildings are in place is a recipe for disaster.
“Any evaluation of small schools cannot be based on cost alone. Other basic criteria such as the quality of the educational experience, ensuring stable enrolment trends, the financial position of a school, accessibility and maintaining strong links with the community must all be considered.”