Saturday 20 January 2018

Number of one-teacher schools is at risk of rising

Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail deputy
Charlie McConalogue, Fianna Fail deputy

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

THE number of one-teacher primary schools is at risk of increasing to 60 next September – up from eight in 2012 – as a result of ongoing teacher cuts.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn told the Dail that preliminary figures showed up to 60 schools could be reduced to one teacher in the autumn.

This is because of a programme of cuts that will require a school to have at least 20 pupils in September in order to be allocated two teachers.

However, the minister's spokesperson later said that the figure was "highly unlikely" to reach 60 as it was open to schools to appeal.

Primary schools with three and four teachers are also at risk of losing teachers in September.

Fianna Fail education spokesman Charlie McConalogue said it was real evidence of the Government's targeted campaign against small schools, the burden of which had fallen on rural schools, minority faith schools and Gaeltacht schools.

Next September sees the third and final phase of an increase in the pupil-teacher ratio of two, three and four-teacher schools announced in the December 2011 Budget.

The process started in September 2012 and affects schools with fewer than 86 pupils, which number about 1,500, or half of the 3,200 primary schools in the country.

Irish Independent

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