Tuesday 25 October 2016

Labour vows to reduce class size to just 20

Katherine Donnelly and Alan O'Keeffe

Published 18/01/2016 | 02:30

Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan Photo: Tom Burke
Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan Photo: Tom Burke

Labour is promising to deliver the smallest primary classes in the history of the State within the next five years if re-elected.

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Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan says the party will reduce average class sizes to 20 - down from the current 25.

The reversal of some austerity-era education cutbacks in the recent budget will reduce that figure to 24 from next September, and Labour is pledging to hit the target of 20 by 2021.

An average class size of 20 would be in line with international best practice and essential for optimum learning outcomes, according to the Irish National Teachers Organisation. At present, less than 10pc of Irish primary aged children are in a class with fewer than 20 pupils and almost 24pc - one in four - are in classes with 30 or more pupils.

Labour's Dublin North West TD John Lyons, speaking at the launch of the party's 'Standing Up for Working Families' campaign, claimed in the last Budget Ms O'Sullivan "reduced class sizes in primary schools back to their smallest ever level".

Labour will end the use of prefabs in schools by 2021 if re-elected, he said.

Irish Independent

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