There is little positive news in Budget 2018 for Ireland’s 350,000 plus second-level students, many of whom experience unacceptably large class sizes.
Commenting on today’s Budget, ASTI General Secretary, Kieran Christie, said: “Given the sustained economic growth over the past few years, it is unacceptable that the pupil-teacher ratio at second level remains higher than it was this time 10 years ago.
“In 2007, research found over-crowded classes in second-level schools to be a significant issue. Despite this the pupil-teacher ratio was worsened in Budget 2009. This has resulted in even larger classes. The cuts introduced during the recession must be reversed as a matter of urgency.”
Guidance counselling posts
“While we welcome the additional guidance counselling posts, we note that these merely represent another step towards the restoration of schools’ 2011 guidance counselling provision, which was cut in 2012,” said Kieran Christie.
ASTI President Ger Curtin said second-level schools will be surprised that Budget 2018 does nothing to address the shortfall in funding for day-to-day running costs:
“Spending on second-level education in Ireland as a percentage of GDP is below the OCED average. Only last month, the OECD report Education at a Glance actually stated that spending on education in Ireland needs to rise. In this context, schools had rightly expected to see an increase in their funding.”
The ASTI President added that the union is disappointed that the restoration of middle management posts in second-level schools, which was announced in last year’s Budget, has come to a halt.