Tuesday, 10 December 2019
Department of Education and Skills
173. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider measures to reduce the class sizes in DEIS schools in view of evidence such as the study Addressing Education Disadvantage by the Educational Research Centre, that children have better outcomes from smaller classes sizes; the measures he will take to bring class sizes below 20 pupils for primary education; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51210/19]
As the Deputy may be aware, the DEIS Plan acknowledges that the allocation of teaching resources to DEIS primary schools with the highest concentrations of children at risk of educational disadvantage has served to improve learning outcomes. It also commits to the evaluation of the level of teaching resources for schools participating in DEIS to be undertaken to inform future policy in this area.
In order to facilitate this a Class Size Working Group was established comprising representatives from the Education Partners, the Educational Research Centre and the relevant Business Units in my Department. This group has met on a number of occasions to consider class size in the context of improved learning outcomes of those most at risk of educational disadvantage.
A report on the work of this group is currently being finalised and will take into consideration the feedback and observations of the working group members. It is intended that this will be finalised in the coming weeks and its findings will inform future policy direction in this area.