Department of Education must rural proof budget proposals – Ó Clochartaigh
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh has said he fears the upcoming budget will heavily impact on rural schools again.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh said the budget should be rural proofed to ensure it does not negatively or disproportionately affect rural communities and schools.
“Recent budget cuts have dramatically impacted on rural schools.
“Changes to the pupil-teacher-ration for small schools has meant a loss of teachers in many schools while there have been cuts to school transport. The cuts to DEIS schools in rural areas have not been reversed.
“We now have a situation in many areas in which a multiple of age groups are being taught in one classroom with a wide range of curricula to cater for one class.
“Cuts have meant special needs and language teaching are both suffering. Many principals have to teach while also trying to do admin work.
“I am calling on Education Minister Rúairí Quinn to publish the Value for Money Review of Small Shools and outline his department’s policy and strategy on school amalgamations.
“I fear that rural schools will be hit again in the upcoming budget and I am calling on the government to ensure that the budget is rural proofed to ensure it does not negatively or disproportionately affect rural communities and schools.”ENDS