News & Media

Investment abandoned in Education for token measures

8 October 2019

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

Responding to the lack of policy announcements about Education in Budget 2020, Labour Education spokesperson, Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said:

“I’m really disappointed to see that there has been no reduction in record class sizes in Budget 2020 for most schools, with some movement on the ratio for small schools, aimed at shoring up Fine Gael support in rural Ireland in advance of a General Election.

“Irish primary school class sizes are among the largest in Europe- averaging at 25 here compared to 20 in the rest of the EU according to the OECD.

“Labour has long argued that smaller class sizes give a teacher more time to spend with each child and can have a particularly positive impact on young children, and those in disadvantaged communities.

“While the Budget documents refer to increases in the standard and enhanced capitation rates, we have been provided with no detail as to how much this will be and what it will cost.

“In our Alternative Budget, Labour advocated for a multi-million euro investment in education at primary and secondary school level, making it genuinely free, increased the capitation grants in DEIS schools by 50 per cent, and returned schools to pre-crash levels of capitation investment.

“While we welcome proposed measures to pilot a free-book scheme, something Labour has advocated for, for some time, there is very little detail as to how this will be rolled out, with only €4m allocated to it.

“I was also disappointed to see there has been no additional funding provided for students learning English as an additional language.

“The reality is that the life of a teacher, principal or child is the same pre-Budget as it will be post Budget 2020.”