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My Budget: The teacher


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Not enough: Physics teacher Christopher Daly says class sizes need to come down by a lot more. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Not enough: Physics teacher Christopher Daly says class sizes need to come down by a lot more. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

Not enough: Physics teacher Christopher Daly says class sizes need to come down by a lot more. Photo: Dylan Vaughan

A secondary school teacher says that while an additional reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio in Budget 2021 is welcome, more needs to be done.

An extra 307 teachers will be put into primary schools - which will see one teacher for every 25 pupils next September, down from the current 26:1 ratio.

"It's great to see money has been allocated to schools, it's great to see money allocated to new teaching jobs, but I would have huge questions as to when those jobs are divided out between the schools and there's very few teachers being allocated over a large amount of schools," said Christopher Davey (29), a physics teacher in St Leo's College in Carlow.

"It's great to see capital investment in schools, but that capital investment should have been happening for years and years. What's going on now is a small amount that won't remedy and won't do enough. It is just a drop in the ocean."

He said that during the pandemic, countries where the pupil-teacher ratio is low were able to have classes outside.

"That ratio, it's important it comes down, but at the same time you're talking about bringing it down by one, from 26 to 25. It's a good start for sure but it's not really enough.

"The pupil-teacher ratio, you saw how important it was when it came to Covid and countries that had a low pupil-teacher ratio were able to bring their class outside. You can't really have 25 children running around outside," Mr Davey said.

More than 400 special education teachers will also be recruited, as well as an extra 990 special needs assistants (SNAs) and 267 teacher jobs across primary and post-primary schools.

"It's really good that there's jobs, but there need to be more jobs," added Mr Davey.

"We also have a situation where SNAs aren't paid enough. SNAs are worth their weight in gold and I would like to see movement on their salaries."

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He was also "disappointed" to see pay for teachers would not be tackled in the Budget.

"It's another budget that's gone by that this hasn't really happened. That's really disappointing because I'm getting older - you're no longer talking about young teachers, but teachers who are looking to start their lives and we're still down quite a substantial amount of money."


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