Offaly TD backs INTO demands for more primary school teachers
Independent Offaly TD Carol Nolan has said she will be supporting the INTO’s submission to Budget 2019 which seeks investment to reduce class sizes; increase capitation and employ more teachers.
Speaking after the INTO’s annual briefing for members of the Oireachtas, Deputy Nolan stated that, “the impact of education cuts during the austerity years has been profound and the effects wide reaching."
"Many vulnerable children in primary school are falling off the edges from an early stage, as special supports have been cut and teacher-pupil ratios remain high. These children have little chance of ever reaching their potential later in life," Carol continued.
"Add to that, the shortage of supply teachers to cover absentees; the burden of administration that falls upon teaching principals; and the challenge of fundraising to recoup shortfalls in the capitation grant to run the schools, it is beyond time that the Government moves to mitigate some of these pressures."
The INTO lobby set out four corners to its demand. The first seeks to reduce the pupil teacher ratio from 1:27 to 1:26 which will still stand at 5 pupils above the OECD average of 1:21. The second seeks to restore 5,000 middle management posts lost in the recession and additionally release teaching principals for one day per week to attend to administration duties.
The third demand seeks an increase in the capitation grant of €20 per pupil to bring it up to €190, still short of the 2009 figure of €200 per pupil. The final pillar seeks the establishment of Teacher Supply Panels – a logistics arrangement to ensure the availability of qualified teachers to cover absenteeism. The new measures have been costed at €53 million. The total Education Budget for 2018 is €10.1 billion.
Deputy Nolan concluded that, “the INTO proposals are modest given that they are primarily working towards re-instating the conditions that existed prior to the financial collapse."
"I spoke last week about the barriers for many students progressing to third level and for the most vulnerable; these barriers begin in Junior Infants. A measure of a progressive society is the value it places on education as from this, all other progress flows. For this reason I will be strongly supporting a re-investment in our Primary Education system," Carol concluded.
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