Saturday 10 December 2016

Editorial: We must prioritise smaller size classes

Published 06/04/2015 | 02:30

The shocking finding has emerged after Department of Education-backed study among third class pupils in 22 primary schools, during the 2013/14 academic year.
The shocking finding has emerged after Department of Education-backed study among third class pupils in 22 primary schools, during the 2013/14 academic year.

Adults with even the sketchiest of schooldays memories will recall what happened in over-crowded classrooms where teachers were put to the pin of their collars to maintain order, let alone impart knowledge.

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Those of us with better memories will also recall the real losers: the less able academically, those from poorer families without compensatory home back-up, and those with real learning difficulties. For these less fortunate people, the starting gate to a life of any real quality too often remained shut. They paid a life-long price for deficient primary schooling.

The extent of the ongoing problem of overcrowded classes is evident today in an Irish Independent breakdown of enrolments by local authority area, based on Department of Education data. These latest figures will undoubtedly feature in a debate at the Irish National Teachers Organisation annual conference which also starts today.

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