Tuesday, 27 May 2014
Department of Education and Skills
Weight of Schoolbags
249. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills in reference to the report by a working group in 1998, which recommended that no child carry over 10% of their body weight, yet children are carrying books and backpacks three times their weight, the reason this is not implemented in practice in all educational institutions here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22658/14]
The report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags recognised that many of the solutions to this issue belong at local school level and made various recommendations in this regard, such as optimum use of storage facilities, developing pupil organisation skills and timetabling. My Department issued circulars to all primary and post-primary schools in 2005 to highlight the potential health hazard of overweight schoolbags and to outline a range of local measures that could be put in place to help alleviate the problem. The circulars referred to the recommendations of the report. It is a matter for each individual school to determine which particular measures are most suited to its individual circumstances and to how the school concerned organises teaching and learning. The circulars (PC 13/05 and M35/05) and the report of the Working Group on the Weight of School Bags are available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.