Primary schools remain overcrowded and underfunded

OECD report ‘Education at a Glance 2019’ finds Irish primary school classes among the largest in Europe while funding lags behind the rest of Europe.

Today’s OECD report finds that primary schools in Ireland remain overcrowded and underfunded compared to other countries.

Irish primary school teachers continue to teach more pupils than other teachers in the Eurozone. The average class size in Irish primary schools remains at 25 compared to the EU average of 20 pupils per class.

Ireland is bottom of the table when it comes to investment and funding has dropped significantly between 2010 and 2016. Funding at primary level is also significantly lower than that of second and third level. For every €10 spent at primary level, almost €12 is spent at second level and almost €16 at third level.

The report finds that Irish primary school teachers are among the hardest working in Europe. Irish primary teachers teach an average of 905 hours per year compared to 726 hours at second level and the EU average of 754 hours.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

Today’s report from the OECD confirms what we already know. We are topping the league of shame when it comes to class size and funding at primary level. Many teachers have become fundraisers, raising funds to cover basic school costs. The workload burden of principals and teachers in our primary schools is huge. It’s time for a funding boost, a reduction in class size and for Government to deliver a minimum of one leadership and management day per week for teaching principals.