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07 Oct 2022

TD hits out at 'enormous' class sizes in Laois

Limerick school secures approval for three new classrooms

A TD has hit out at the ‘shocking’ and ‘absolutely enormous’ class sizes in Laois where 28 classes have more than 30 children.  

Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley said “in Laois, there were 28 classes with 30 pupils or more; these large numbers have also been seen in Offaly which has 35 Primary School classes with over 30 pupils. These figures are shocking.’’

He said “figures obtained by Sinn Féin showing that there were 2,120 primary school classes across the state with 30 pupils or more in the academic year 2021-2022, underline the need for increased investment in our education system in the upcoming budget. The figures for Laois/Offaly are of particular concern.’’

“Too many of our children’s quality of education is being affected by high class sizes. There are countless classes that are far too big, and I urge the Minister to urgently address this issue,” he insisted. 

“Some of these classes are absolutely enormous and would clearly put teachers and students under severe pressure. In the last school year there were classes with as much as 38 pupils in Laois and 37 in Offaly.  This is simply unacceptable.”

He said his party wants to abolish all classes of over 30 pupils and never allow them to return while working towards attaining the EU average of 20 children per class.

“The Minister has an historic opportunity to introduce a two-point reduction in average class size in a single year. The Minister has an opportunity to do this by sufficiently investing in our Education system in the upcoming budget and to make progress in reducing class sizes to the EU average,” said Deputy Stanley. 

He explained that the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) is campaigning for a two-point reduction in average class size in a single year.  “I urge the Minister to listen to them and to work towards reducing our primary school class sizes in line with the EU average. I met with their representatives again this year and they outlined to me the importance of progress on this matter,” he remarked. 

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“Evidence shows that pupils do better and are better served with smaller class sizes. The complexity of the contemporary classroom is such that, with larger class sizes, teachers find it challenging to meet the broad spectrum of needs children now present with,” said Deputy Stanley.

‘When class numbers are more reasonable, modern teaching methods work more effectively, and teachers can spend the time needed with children. This is particularly important for children with additional needs and those from disadvantaged communities,’’ he remarked.

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