9th June 2021
The Department of Education has published a three-year strategy statement, covering the period 2021 to 2023.
Reacting to publication of the strategy statement, INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:
In setting the strategy of the department for the coming years, this document is published at a time of great disruption and change within primary and special education. Fifteen months into a pandemic, which caused our school buildings to close twice, we simply must do better by way of forward planning. Never again should we accept supersized classes that left us exposed when crisis hit. Never again will we tolerate dismal levels of investment in technology and training, with teachers having to set up and resource remote-learning hubs in their own homes. Special education is at the heart of the Irish education system and we must endeavour to provide the critical supports systems to ensure inclusion is within everyone’s grasp.
We welcome the commitment to further reduce pupil-teacher ratio and increase capitation grants to ensure schools have the tools needed to focus on learning. It is very clear to the INTO that it is now within the wherewithal of this government to bring our massive primary class sizes down from 25 to the European average of 20. Further investment in DEIS and supports for students at risk of educational disadvantage are crucial and we look forward to seeing the department providing additional resources to enable our most vulnerable pupils to reach their full potential.
Over the coming days, we will be assessing the goals of this strategy, which sets the tone for the department’s work in the primary and special education systems for the coming years. As we emerge from crisis, we need a department willing to invest and support the incredible teachers and school leaders who have supported the continuity of learning throughout the pandemic, working tirelessly to keep schools open for 30 of the 37 weeks in the current school year.
In late 2020, the INTO made a detailed submission on the then draft strategy, raising the issues of concern to our membership. The INTO submission included a series of goals for success. Click here to read the submission.
Update (11 June 2021): The INTO wishes to apologise for incorrectly publishing aspects of the Department of Education’s draft strategy plan as an outline of the INTO submission. We have removed the inaccurate material.