News & Media

Budget 2020 must deliver for teachers

5 October 2019

Statement by Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin
Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Gaeilge and the Gaeltacht

On World Teachers’ Day, Labour Party Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has said Budget 2020 must deliver measures for teaching staff.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“I want to wish all Irish teachers a happy World Teachers’ Day. Teachers right across Ireland do wonderful work inspiring and caring for our young people.

“It is important that as we face into a budget that we deal with some of the issues that teachers face in the classroom.

“We need to see far more teachers, SNAs and support staff across the education system. However, Irish class sizes are still significantly higher than international norms. Smaller class sizes provide more time for a teacher to spend with each child, and have been shown to have a particularly positive impact on young children and those in disadvantaged communities.

“In Labour’s Alternative Budget, we would continue to cut class sizes to an historic low, and our ambition is to reach an average class size of 20 within five years, and put an end to any classes with over 30 pupils. For Budget 2020 we would reduce the pupil teacher ratio in September at primary level to 24:1 costing €4.5m and at secondary level to 18:1 costing €21m.

“We recognise that many principals across the country are still teaching and finding the time to be across absolutely everything is becoming increasingly difficult. We are also making the investment necessary to ensure that every teaching principal has one day available outside the classroom to spend on administration, and leading improvements to teaching and learning in our primary schools.

“Tuesday’s budget can’t be allowed to pass by without mention of the promises the Government made to teachers on ending pay inequality. We can’t continue to have a situation where newly qualified teachers feel they have no choice but to travel abroad for decent pay and conditions. This must be recognised and dealt with.”