Number of 'supersize' classes rising
THE alarming rise in primary school class sizes is confirmed in new figures from the Department of Education.
There are now more than 121,00 children in "supersize" classes of 30 or more – up 8,000 on the previous year.
That's 24pc of four-to-12-year-olds, or virtually one in four of the children attending primary schools. The proportion of pupils in overcrowded classrooms has grown from 22pc in 2011-12 and 20pc the year before.
While there has been no change in the official pupil-teacher ratio, the growth in enrolments combined with the loss of support teachers was stretching classrooms to the limit.
Class size figures on the 2012-13 year show that 90pc of children were in classes of 20 or more last year, up from 86pc in 2010-11 and 88pc in 2011-12 .
At the same time, the proportion of pupils in classes with fewer than 19 pupils had slipped to 11pc from 14pc in 2010-11.
The 70,000 junior infants starting in primary schools this week have pushed enrolments to their highest for more than 20 years.
An Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) spokesman described the figures as extremely worrying,adding: "Almost a quarter of all children are in classes of more than 30 while the EU average is 20 per class. This is a black mark on Ireland's report card."