herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Almost a third of capital's classes are 'supersized'

ALMOST a third of primary school pupils in parts of Dublin are in classes with more than 30 children in them.

As the population continues to grow, at least 125,000 children are starting the school year in so-called "supersize" classes.

And the issue is worst in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown area where 31pc of children are in classes of 30 of more.

Commuter-belt counties are facing similar numbers with Wicklow also on a rate of 31pc and Meath on 30pc, according to the figures compiled by the Department of Education.

The figures are almost 24pc in Fingal, 23pc in South Dublin County Council area and 18pc in the city.

Across the country the proportion of children in classes of 30-plus stands at 24pc, with the numbers in such large classes up 29,000 since the 2006-07 school year.

Last year, 124,493 children were in classes of 30 or more and as there has been no improvement in pupil-teacher ratios, the situation is likely to be worse now.

Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) general secretary Sheila Nunan said: "Irish class sizes are back to where they were 10 years ago."

overcrowded

She said primary school classes here are among the most overcrowded in Europe and called for increased investment in education to reduce class-sizes starting with the upcoming Budget.

The numbers of children in classes of more than 30 had dropped to 20pc across Ireland's 3,200 national schools by the end of 2007-08.

While no official cut in the pupil-teacher ratio occurred, support teachers were taken out of the system.

Ms Nunan said that this has placed greater pressure on teachers of children with special needs, those from disadvantaged backgrounds and pupils who speak little English.

hnews@herald.ie

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