Monday 19 March 2018

Quinn insists no decision made on increasing class sizes

Ruairi Quinn
Ruairi 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 insisted.

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 is still out on any possible changes in the October 15 budget.

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

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

It was reported earlier this week that the Government is looking at saving €7.5m in 2014 and €22m per academic year after that by increasing class sizes as part of an estimated €100m in cuts in the upcoming budget.

While the minister wouldn't be drawn on the controversial issue of class size, he did indicate that "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. It's causing difficulty and pain for us in the department, for teachers and principals and everybody else but it has to be settled. 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."

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