Minister must extend class size reduction to all DEIS schools
In anticipation of the staff schedule for all mainstream primary schools to be published next week, Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD has called on the Minister to confirm that a reduction in class size will be passed to all DEIS schools.
Last November, the Minister extended the class size reduction to DEIS Senior Schools – with all other DEIS schools excluded. Deputy Ó Ríordáin has criticised the Minister for her disregard toward the most disadvantaged children in the country and has urged the Minister to urgently publish the suite of measures to support children in all DEIS schools.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:
“The “imminent” announcement on a package of supports for DEIS schools promised by the Taoiseach, Tánaiste and Minister for Education last November have yet to come to pass. No other section of society would be asked to wait almost four months for an imminent funding announcement other than disadvantaged children. In a political system where the voice that shouts the loudest is heard, we are at risk of having a generation of children disadvantaged by a failure of politics to protect them.
“Research shows us that it is infant children from disadvantaged backgrounds that would benefit most from reduced class sizes. While the Minister reduced class sizes for children in Senior DEIS schools last November, I would query why the decision was taken to exclude the most vulnerable students from this.
“It is simply nonsensical that schools serving the most disadvantaged children have not received similar reductions. Many of these students have additional needs and would really benefit from reduced class sizes.
“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 and ongoing school closures. The Minister now has the opportunity to correct this situation and do the right thing by extending the class size reduction to all DEIS schools.”