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Budget 2018 10/10/17

INTO: Additional teachers to reduce overcrowded classes welcome.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Press Release

Irish National Teachers’ Organisation

INTO: Additional teachers to reduce overcrowded classes welcome.

The INTO has welcomed the announcement in the budget of additional teachers to tackle Ireland’s overcrowded classes in primary schools. Today’s announcement will see more than 300 additional primary teachers appointed to reduce class sizes in the most overcrowded schools.

Currently Irish classes at primary level are among the largest in the EU, second only to the UK. Irish classes have an average of 25 pupils compared to an EU average of 20 per class. Around 100,000 pupils in Ireland are in supersized classes of 30 or more.

Today’s budget will see over 300 extra primary teachers to reduce class sizes and a similar number to provide for increases in enrolment and the replacement of retiring teachers.

Reducing class sizes in primary schools was a key priority of the INTO’s pre-budget campaign. The union also campaigned for increased non-teaching time for teaching principals to enable them to better administer small schools.

Sheila Nunan, general secretary of the INTO welcomed today’s budget announcement on reducing class sizes as welcome step towards bringing Irish class sizes into line with other countries. “This is the first move to tackle over-crowding by this government,” she said. “Irish primary schools will see this as progress towards a fairer deal for children.”

“This decision will benefit children in primary schools,” said Ms Nunan. “Teachers have more time with each pupil in smaller classes and can identify when a child is having difficulties faster.” According to Ms Nunan studies in the USA and Canada studies have shown that smaller class sizes deliver better learning outcomes, especially with younger children.