Appeals may not save schools

Teachers are not convinced that an appeals process will save small primary schools from cuts, with the incoming GAA president warning of school closures.

Teachers are not convinced that an appeals process will save small primary schools from cuts, with the incoming GAA president warning of school closures.

Niamh Campion, principal of Newtown NS, who is also media co-ordinator for the INTO and secretary of the principals and deputy principals, was not conviced by the appeals process.

“It will be a very weak effort to take the sting out our of the tail. It would just be delaying teachers leaving - instead of leaving this September, they will go the following September,” she said.

Liam O’ Neill, incoming GAA president and principal of Gaelscoil Thromaire told the Leinster Express that there was no sense in the cuts.

“If they close down schools they will effectively close down rural communities.

“The focus of the campaign has to be about rural Ireland. There is no better example that I can think of around than Kilbricken, they closed the school, then the station and post office. The question has to be asked, is this what people want?”

“To go from a three teacher school to a two teacher school is an absolute disaster if you are near 50 pupils, as well as schools going from four teachers to three,” he said.

He said that if the cuts go ahead schools would close “one by one over the next two years”.

Ms Campion said “there has been very little effort made with the appeals board.

“And there is no rollbacks on the cuts. People are wondering what is going to happen and what is coming down the road. If they can do this after this year’s budget, what will they do after next year’s?”

Charlie Flanagan TD told the Leinster Express that he had made representations to the Minister for Education, Ruairi Quinn to make him aware of the impact the loss of one or more teacher would have on small schools.

“I am pleased that the Minister has listened to the concerns of parents, teachers and backbenchers on this issue.

“The number of teaching posts to be lost in small schools has been considerably reduced, and the new appeals process will give an opportunity to schools on the borderline to prove their case.

“This is a very welcome approach”, he said.