The upcoming December Budget poses a very real and serious threat to our children’s education, according to the Galway branch of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO ).
As part of Education Week entitled ‘Give Kids Their Chance’ the INTO is calling on all teachers, parents/guardians, public representatives, and other interested parties to attend a public meeting at The Galway Bay Hotel on Monday, November 8, at 8pm to discuss the effects that the Budget will have on eduction.
According to the INTO the Budget could result in: a significant increase in the number of children in each classroom; a negative impact on what is taught and the way it is taught; threaten the existence of many small schools and force their closure; make the paying of everyday bills like heating, lighting, and cleaning more difficult; and place further demands on parents to fundraise.
The ‘Give Kids Their Chance’ campaign is a strategic campaign aimed at changing political decision making over the lifetime of the Government.
Joe Killeen, district representative for Galway and Roscommon said: “Increasing the number of pupils in each classroom will make urban schools more crowded as the Irish primary school classrooms are already accommodating classess in excess of 30 pupils. A school with 313 pupils at present has 13 teachers but will need 330 pupils, or more, to hold this number after the Budget if the dreaded increases are implemented leading inevitably to increasing the number of pupils in each class.
“Increasing class size has another dimension for the small rural schools when 49 pupils are on the roll. At present in these schools the pupils are subdivided into three class rooms with 16 pupils in each room on average. If the pupil/teacher ration is raised by one the school will now comprise two teachers with 25 pupils in each of two remaining classrooms. The school will suffer the loss of one class teacher leaving each of the two remaining teachers taking four multi-classes, for example, infants to first class and second to sixth class.
“The same situation will apply where a school has 81 pupils. A school of this size has four classes with each child of 20 pupils on average. With the increase predicted in the Budget, the school will then revert to three teachers with pupils sharing a classroom with 27. Far from one teacher having to teach one extra pupil it will diminish the time allocated to individual pupils in all class settings in primary schools. It will mean a dramatic worsening of the conditions in particular schools. We have the second highest pupil/teacher ratio in the European Union at present, let’s not make the situation any worse.”
Education week takes place between Monday, November 28, and December 2, and will be marked by schools across the country with a series of events planned which are designed to raise public awareness of the difficulties already facing schools and the expected cuts in this year’s budget.