Thursday, 23 September 2021
Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh (Atógáil) - Priority Questions (Resumed)
I acknowledge the investment made by the this Government and that which preceded it. Our core objective needs to be that no child should leave primary school not being able to read and write. Children need to be supported to do that, yet statistics show that up to one in ten children into that category. These larger class sizes result in less teacher time for each pupil and, while I accept that the pupil-teacher ratio has come down, we still have a significant number of pupils in large classes. I urge the Minister to ensure this is reflected in the budget investment. Not just that, we need investment to support teaching principles and in the context of capitation.
I will give an interesting figure in relation to the area of disadvantage. Looking at students in large classes of 30 or more, 10% of urban band 2 DEIS pupils fall into that category and, in rural DEIS, nearly 12% of pupils fall into those larger class sizes. Something needs to be done.