News & Media

Pupil Teacher Ratio reduction must be passed onto DEIS Schools

14 October 2020

Statement by Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD
Spokesperson on Education, Enterprise and Trade
Aodhan
  • DEIS schools cannot be allowed fall further behind
  • Ireland will have some of the largest class sizes in Europe even with the reduction

The Minister for Education needs to ensure that the pupil-teacher-ratio is automatically passed onto DEIS Schools according to Labour Education Spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“The Labour Party welcomes the reduction in the pupil-teacher-ration announced to 25:1 as announced in Budget 2021. Minister Foley needs to ensure that this is automatically passed onto DEIS Schools.

“We have consistently called over many years for a multiyear commitment to bring class sizes down to a ratio of 20:1. Ireland has some of the largest class sizes in Europe which is bad for teachers and students.

“It is not good enough for the Minister to say in reply to me in the Dáil that there is a fund to deal with a variety of issues in DEIS schools including staffing. She needs to immediately clarify that DEIS schools will get this reduction in the pupil teacher ratio in conjunction with all other schools.

“There are 231 DEIS primary schools around Ireland. These schools educate children in some of the most disadvantaged and deprived parts of in the country. Many of these students have additional needs and would really benefit from reduced class sizes.

“The Minister and the Department need to stop treating these students like an afterthought, they must see the same benefits from Budget 2021 as the other non DEIS primary schools. In her response this morning the Minister failed to clearly indicate whether DEIS schools would see the reduction in the pupil-teacher-ratio, she needs to state clearly whether the decrease will be passed onto them or not.

“Labour would reduce class sizes in mainstream and DEIS schools. The pupil-teacher-ration needs to be lowered DEIS schools because smaller classes allow for more intensified education which would greatly benefit children in disadvantaged settings.

“DEIS schools are already underfunded and a failure to automatically grant them the reduction in the pupil teacher ratio will further disadvantage them. We are already facing a crisis in educational attainment due to Covid-19 with many students in disadvantaged communities having disengaged and fallen further behind due to the prolonged school closure last year.