Gerry Adams TD raises classroom sizes with Minister Bruton
Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams has expressed his deep concern at the number of children in Louth attending classes that are above the recommended 30 pupils per class.
The Louth TD said:
“At the end of June the Department of Education produced its final data on class room size for 2016/17. This included the number of pupils in each individual classroom for schools across the State.
"Its two worksheets, which can be found on the Department’s website, provide valuable information on the significant work to be done to reduce class room sizes down to their optimum number of 30.
"The source of all of this data in the National School Annual Census 2016/17 and it pertains to ordinary mainstream class in mainstream primary schools only.
"The statistics reveal that across the State 110,295 children are in classrooms with sizes of between 30-34; 7,745 are in classes with sizes of between 35-39; and 286 are in a class with more than 40 pupils. This means that approximately one fifth of all pupils are in classes that are too large.
"In County Louth there are almost 4,000 pupils in classes above 30. There are 3,164 in classes of between 30-34 pupils and 568 pupils in classes of between 35 and 39.
"How can one teacher hope to efficiently and effectively teach reading and maths and all that a primary school teacher is expected to deliver in the syllabus in classes that are so large? The impact of this on teaching is not acceptable.
"While there has been a slight drop across the State in the number of children in classes of 30 plus, nonetheless at 118,326 the figure remains exceptionally high.
"The Irish National Teachers Organisation recently pointed out that primary schools in this State have the second biggest class sizes in the European Union.
"I have written to the Minister for Education Richard Bruton raising my concerns about class sizes in Louth.
"I have also asked what measures the government plans to put in place in budget 2018 to reduce class sizes and specifically what measures the department of Education is taking in respect of County Louth"