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O’Brien comments on small schools announcements

17 February, 2015 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD


Speaking following the publication of the Minister’s policy on small schools today, Sinn Féin TD and Education spokesperson Jonathan O’Brien noted the announcement but said that there was more to school sustainability than teacher numbers.

 Deputy O’Brien said:

 “I note the new rules introduced today, and also the Minister’s admission that small schools have a role in the sustainability of communities.”

  “Small schools play a central role in many rural communities and it is essential that they are maintained where it is in the best interests of local children’s education.”

 “The Minister has said that where schools have less than 25 pupils and within 8kms of the nearest school, she will provide capital funding for amalgamations out of the existing budget and we are eager to hear from the Minister how many schools of she expects to amalgamate as a result of her new policy.”

“There are numerous schools out there which will be on alert now with the prospect of being invited to amalgamate with schools that already have a lack of resources and are stretched to beyond capacity.”

 “In some communities, this will make sense and will be a positive development, however many people will now be fearing that this is a sleight of hand where schools who need refurbishment and extra resources will be under pressure to amalgamate in order to get the resources they need.”

 “While we are in favour of improved retention rates for second teachers in small schools, we have concerns that there will be pressure to unnecessarily close some small schools.” 

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