Dáil debates

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions

School Staffing

9:30 am

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I note the last comment of the Minister, that this puts the situation of small schools "on a more affordable and sustainable basis". There was no reference in the Minister's reply to educational standards, the needs of children or the needs of schools and communities. Instead, it is about money and affordability. That is a disappointing response.

It would be remiss of me not to wish the Minister well in her new role, which is a very important one. I congratulate her on her appointment. We have met at committee and I wish the Minister well over the coming period.

The Minister's predecessor introduced changes to school staffing thresholds which have had very damaging effects on small schools. Half of national schools in this country have four teachers or fewer and they are the schools which have been targeted. The Minister has indicated in her reply that her Government has overseen a fourfold increase in the number of one-teacher schools. There will be 40 such schools in this academic year. I ask the Minister to comment on how she views the situation facing students and teachers in those schools. How feasible is it for them to be in the situation created by this Government?


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