Thursday 21 September 2017

Jury's still out on increasing class sizes, reveals Quinn

Allison Bray

Allison Bray

THE Government is still undecided over whether it will increase class sizes in next month's Budget, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has revealed.

Despite reports that his department is looking at increasing the teacher-pupil ratio next year to one teacher per 30 students, up from one per 28 pupils, Mr Quinn said the jury was still out on any possible changes in the Budget.

"It hasn't been discussed and we won't have any final figures for another two weeks," he said.

"There will be a series of government meetings then. But honestly, as far as I'm concerned there have been no discussions."

The Irish Independent reported this week that the Government is looking at saving €7.5m in 2014 and €22m per year after that by increasing class sizes next September as part of an estimated €100m in cuts in the October 15 Budget.

While Mr Quinn wouldn't be drawn on the controversial issue of class size, he did indicate "everything will be looked at".

"None of us like doing what we have to do. None of us like the reduction in allocation of support for different kinds of services that are needed and looking for either increased money from people or reducing the services that they are currently receiving," he said.

"But reluctantly we have to do them. We know it's causing difficulty and pain. We're not doing it in abstract, we're doing it in the context that we'll regain control of our own economy and when we have control of our own economy we won't have to do some of these things," Mr Quinn added.

He also said he didn't "foresee" any changes in plans to increase third-level registration fees from €2,000 to €3,000 by 2015.

Irish Independent

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