Minister refuses to halt cuts at small schools
EDUCATION Minister Ruairi Quinn rejected a request to suspend any further teacher cuts in small schools to allow for roundtable discussions on their future.
It now seems likely that the proposed talks involving the Department of Education, teachers and school managers – which Mr Quinn himself wants to happen – will not go ahead.
A number of two, three and four-teacher schools will lose a teacher in September in the final round of a cost-saving programme that started in 2012.
The September round of cuts is likely to result in about 50 one-teacher schools around the country, compared with eight in 2012.
The cuts programme means that from September a school must have 20 pupils to have two teachers, compared with 12 in 2011.
A three-teacher school will need 56 pupils, compared with 49 three years ago.
And a four-teacher school will need 86 pupils, compared with 81 in 2011.
The Irish National Teachers Organisation and Catholic Primary School Management Association recently wrote to the minister seeking discussions.
And at the INTO annual conference yesterday, president Brendan O'Sullivan (left) called on Mr Quinn to suspend the September cuts to allow for the discussions.
He said if that did not happen, the matter would become an issue in the forthcoming local and European elections.
Mr Quinn welcomed what he described as a "very constructive letter" and said he would be happy to engage with talks.
But he said there was no question of not going ahead with the final round of cuts.