Budget must address issues teachers face in classroom
On World Teacher’s Day, Labour Education spokesperson, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, has said more must be done to address issues that teachers face in the classroom such as class size, in Tuesday’s budget.
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 rather than focus on tax cuts that will make very little difference to our lives.
“The most important issue for many teachers at the moment is the two-tier pay structure in place in our schools. 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.
“An additional €49 million has already been allocated to education for 2019 to meet demographic costs. This will provide for 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 our 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 2019 we would reduce the pupil teacher ratio in September at primary level to 25:1 costing €4.5m and at secondary level to 18:1 (17.25 in DEIS schools) 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.