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Brady calls for investment in education

3 March, 2007


Sinn Féin Bray Councillor John Brady said that In Wicklow the constituency I represent, there are 13,520 children in primary school; of this 3,869 children are in class sizes of between 30-39 (29%); 8,006 children in class sizes of between 20-30(59%) and just 1,645 children in class sizes of fewer than 20. These are shocking figures but are not confined to Wicklow; they are replicated throughout the state.

Cllr Brady said:

However there are many things that need to be done with the education system to give both pupil and teacher the best opportunity to teach and learn in the best possible environment.

In 2002 Fianna Fáil promised that 'all schools would attain modern standards by 2007'.
The Progressive Democrats promised that they would ensure 'that every primary school in the country reaches, and is maintained at an acceptable explicit national standard within 3 years'. They have failed and failed dismally, ask any teacher or pupil who has to sit in an over crowded classroom or a pre-fab with their coats on because of inadequate or broken heating or because the roof is leaking.
The school building programme must be tackled in a more meaningful manor, using the public purse and not public-private-partnerships.

Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats have also failed to deliver on class sizes. In 2002 they promised that the average size of classes for children under 9 would be below the international best-practice guideline of 20:1.

However figures released by the Department of Education in 2006 show that the 26 Counties has the second largest class sizes in Europe, England being the worst, however I would argue that Ireland is the worst because England employs classroom assistants to provide back-up to the teachers, while in Ireland we don't.

In Wicklow the constituency I represent, there are 13,520 children in primary school; of this 3,869 children are in class sizes of between 30-39 (29%); 8,006 children in class sizes of between 20-30(59%) and just 1,645 children in class sizes of fewer than 20. These are shocking figures but are not confined to Wicklow; they are replicated throughout the state.

The children of today are the future of tomorrow, and they need to be given the best possible start in life. Children cannot learn adequately in large classes, especially children with learning difficulties.

Sinn Féin has a vision for the education system in the New Ireland; this vision is laid out clearly in our policy document 'Educate that you may be free'. We want schools that are centred in the community, reflective of the community and aim for a pupil-teacher ratio of 15:1 to facilitate development and learning at this crucial stage for children.

Remember Bertie the children of today are also the voters of tomorrow and they wont be as forgiving.

Please support motion 103

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