Small schools in County Galway may be in a position to retain teachers and, in some cases, qualify for additional ones, with the lowering of the current thresholds for taking on extra staff.
From September the Government is to reduce the pupil enrolment requirements. A two-teacher school will require a threshold of 19 pupils rather than 20 as things currently stand; a three-teacher school will require 53 pupils rather than 56; while a four-teacher school needs 83 pupils rather than 86.
Although the reductions are modest, Fine Gael Galway West TD Seán Kyne feels it will be “welcomed across Galway” and is a vast improvement on the ‘Value for Money and Policy Review’ initiated by the previous Fianna Fáil led administration.
“The new policy approach will be dependent on criteria such as patronage and geographical distance – 8km,” he said. “It demonstrates the Government’s commitment in balancing parental choice, patronage, and the resources available for the primary school network.”
The new thresholds have also been welcomed by Fine Gael Galway East TD Paul Connaughton.
“The change will result in many schools in east Galway retaining a teacher,” he said, “among them St Teresa’s NS, Killure, which will remain as a two-teacher school, and Lawrencetown NS, which will remain as a three-teacher school.”