Teachers demand reduction in class size

In Galway today, teachers attending the INTO’s annual Congress called on the Minister for Education and Skills to commit to reducing class size to the EU average within the coming five years. According to the 2018 OECD report “Education at a Glance”, the average class size in Ireland is 25 pupils compared to an EU average of 20 pupils.

Teachers heard that due to falling enrolments at primary level, the minister is faced with the unique opportunity to reduce class size to the EU average with minimal or no cost to the state. This reduction in class size, which could be phased in by a yearly reduction in the staffing schedule, would ensure that every child attending primary school is taught by a fully qualified primary teacher.

Proposing the motion, John Driscoll, of the Central Executive Committee said, “It’s undeniable that children thrive in smaller classes – there are more opportunities for interaction and individual attention. Irish primary teachers have shown tremendous capacity for the inclusion of children with special needs, and to ensure the best results for these pupils, we must reduce our class size.”

In his address to the minister yesterday, INTO General Secretary Designate John Boyle said, “We have a great opportunity to change this in the next five years. It’s simple Minister – hold on to our primary teachers as the number of pupils drops. This will allow you to bring Ireland’s class sizes to the bottom of the ladder, below EU and OECD averages.”