Ireland’s classes are the largest in EU and well above the European average of 20 pupils per class. Our average class size is 25 pupils, but the reality is that one in five children in Ireland is taught in a class of 30 or more.
Keeping an adequate distance between children, or even groups of children, in the average Irish classroom, when you have more than 30 children in that room, is a near impossible task. Our supersized classes hindered our ability to reopen schools and may well challenge Micheál Martin’s great intentions to keep them open.
In Westmeath, 22 percent of pupils learn in classes of more than 30 children.
As we approach this year’s budget, it seems we may have to live with this pandemic in our communities well into the future. If we want to keep our schools open, we simply have to lower our class sizes and that needs to happen in the budget.
The INTO is asking the Government to commit to reducing the class sizes by one pupil per class per year over the lifetime of the government, starting in the forthcoming budget.
The Government must, now more than ever, deliver on its commitment to tackle supersized classes. Great effort has gone into getting our schools opened safely. Let’s now ensure that we can keep them open.