BUDGET 2021 REACTION

INTO acknowledges class size cuts are good news

Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Leitrim Observer Reporter

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Following publication of Budget 2021, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) acknowledges the commitment to reduce our supersized classes by an average of one pupil next year. More than 20,000 emails were sent by concerned teachers, parents and members of the public expressing their concern and frustration that Ireland hosts the largest class sizes in Europe.

During the current pandemic a spotlight has been shone on this chronic problem and we acknowledge that the government has provided some good news for primary schools in today’s budget.

Children with special educational needs

The INTO notes the allocation of 403 additional teaching posts to support children with special educational needs in mainstream classes and special classes. We await further detail on the allocation of these posts.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said: “This is a necessary and welcome commitment from government to begin the process of reducing our class sizes in primary schools. This measure will be of most benefit to the one in five pupils who learn in classes of thirty or more. While tens of thousands of children will continue to learn in classes above the EU average, we are at least on the right road now. This change will have a positive impact on the primary education landscape.

In a normal year, smaller class sizes have a positive impact on pupils learning and development, contributing to better life outcomes. During a pandemic, we had the particular shame of being the only country in the EU to issue guidance for social distancing for a class of thirty or more. Smaller class sizes will make it easier to keep our distance.”

"The additional special education teachers are also very welcome to ensure that children with special educational needs receive much needed additional support"