Naughten in call on Minister
Deputy Denis Naughten has asked the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh to look at the pupil numbers needed to retain teachers amid concerns that a number of small schools across Roscommon and Galway are set to lose a teacher. Deputy Naughten recently met with the INTO on the issue.
Stating that teachers’ losses are disproportionately hitting this area, Deputy Naughten said: “A local INTO survey of teachers has indicated that up to one in four schools in our area could be faced with the loss of a teacher from next September.
“On top of this we are seeing small rural schools under threat of closure. These small schools are valued by parents and are at the heart of the communities they serve. We have to do all in our power to retain them where we have the support of parents.
“At present there is a one size fits all approach from the Department of Education which fails to look at unique challenges facing specific schools, particularly small rural schools. In light of this approach we need to look again at the pupil thresholds for getting an extra teacher and retaining a teacher, particularly where there is more than one class in a classroom.
“Prior to the recession, we needed 12 pupils to appoint a second teacher, 49 pupils for a 3rd teacher, and 81 pupils for a 4th teacher. The failure to address this will see less teacher time being available for each pupil. This lack of individual attention means that teachers cannot respond immediately to children’s particular learning needs,” concluded Deputy Naughten.