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Editorial: School cuts a real cause for action

A proposal to increase class sizes to save at least €75m from the education budget looks certain to be part of the December Budget.

Alterations to the pupil-teacher ratio in primary and second-level schools suggested by the Department of Education would mean 1,100 teaching posts left unfilled.

It is also certain to elicit a furious response from the teaching unions and greatly worry parents.

We already have the second highest average class size in the European Union, with 106,000 pupils in classes of 30 and 8,000 more in classes of 35 or more.

The increases proposed might not seem huge, but teachers are already trying to cope with the loss of supports such as Special Needs Assistants and trainee teachers.

The concern is that children will lose out in the long run, with average-to-good pupils left to "float" along and parents helping out more with reading, maths and homework.


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