Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Department of Education and Skills
170. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if class sizes in DEIS band one schools will be decreased in view of the fact the staffing schedule in schools was reduced in budgets 2016 and 2018, and for small schools in budget 2020, there was no corresponding reduction made in the pupil-teacher ratio in DEIS band one schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53618/19]
The DEIS programme allows for a reduced class size in Urban Band 1 primary schools with the application of a preferential staffing schedule to these schools of 20:1 at junior classes and 24:1 at senior classes to support those students at the highest risk of educational disadvantage.
As the Deputy may be aware, DEIS Plan acknowledges 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.