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Overcrowded classrooms unacceptable - Crowe

15 June, 2006


Speaking today Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Seán Crowe criticised the fact that more than “one in four of the State’s primary school students are in classes of 30 or more, while a further 287 students are in classes of 40 or more.”

Deputy Crowe said, “No Primary school teacher should have to stand at the top of a classroom attempting to teach 30 or more pupils at once.  It is unfair on the teacher as it hampers their ability to teach and ads to stress while it impinges on the amount of time a student receives teacher attention, with the student more likely to be distracted and student indiscipline to be more prevalent.

“The government have yet again failed to live up to their own promises. In the 2002 Programme for Government, both Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats pledged to reduce the class size to 20 pupils and under for all children aged nine and under by 2007. The Government have reneged on this pledge.

“Although Minister Hanafin acknowledges that their target won’t be met as she has had to reprioritise, focusing on providing special needs education and non-Irish national children, the fact remains that in one of the richest countries per capita in the world, over a quarter of primary school pupils are being taught in classrooms with over 30 pupils. This scenario of overcrowded classrooms is unacceptable.

“Ireland has the second highest average class size in the EU and overall spending on education is low compared to other so-called developed countries. Sinn Féin strives for a Primary level pupil/teacher ration of 15:1. Today’s Primary school students and teachers deserve better. The under investment in primary education by a government awash with money must be addressed.” ENDS

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