Mayo has more one-teacher schools than any other county in Ireland.
There are now nine schools across Mayo with just one teacher, according to figures released by Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan, in response to a parliamentary question from Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív.
The number of one-teacher schools has quadrupled in recent years, from 11 in 2011 to 44 in 2014.
Deputy Ó Cuív said the figures reveal a “sustained attack by this Government on small schools, particularly in rural Ireland”.
“Changes to the pupil-teacher ratio, brought in as part of Budget 2012, has resulted in schools across the country losing teachers and an increase in the number single teacher schools,” said Deputy Ó Cuív. This threatens the viability of these schools and has heightened concerns among parents and communities in rural areas about the future of their local schools.
“Many of these schools are in areas with dispersed populations, and the move has almost dismantled the heart of the community. Offshore islands have been disproportionately affected by this increase in single-teacher schools, with four out of the 11 islands only having one teacher in their schools.
“That represents more than a third of all the inhabited islands with schools.”