Thursday, November 07, 2019

INDEPENDENT TD and former school principal Carol Nolan has called on the minister for education to carry out an urgent review of teacher allocation guidelines after a Clonaslee school lost a class teacher last week.

Scoil Bhríde lost the teacher last week, resulting in two classes amalgamating and with 38 pupils in one classroom. It has since emerged that the school was just one pupil short of the number needed to retain the teacher.

The Dáil deputy said: “The loss of teachers is having a disproportionate impact on rural schools in Laois.”

She has since written to the education minister Joe McHugh seeking an urgent review of the guidelines that determine how teachers are allocated in rural schools.

Regarding the situation in Clonaslee, deputy Nolan said it was her understanding that there will be a total of 38 children in one class. This situation is very unfair on the children, teachers and parents and is unacceptable.

“There is genuine anger in many schools like Clonaslee throughout rural Ireland because of the devastating impact that comes with losing a valuable and much-needed teacher. I have met many frustrated principals and teachers who discussed this issue with me over the past few months.

“As a former school principal, I believe that the existing policy is not fit for purpose and needs a radical overhaul. What we are seeing now, however, is a direct result of the policy adopted by the Fine Gael/Labour government in 2012, when it introduced changes to the staffing schedules in schools with up to four teachers in Budget 2012. That policy decision directly targeted schools with less than 86 pupils and led to what was seen even then as a move towards the forced amalgamation of rural schools.”

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