Tuesday, 16 June 2020
Department of Education and Skills
210. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he will suspend for one year only the loss of a teacher in small rural schools due to the marginal reduction in pupil numbers in view of the fact the pressure to teach with strict social distancing when the schools reopen could make the schools unmanageable; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10732/20]
The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.
Budget 2020 has provided for improved teacher staffing levels for small schools. This measure will see a more favourable pupil teacher ratio in small schools from September 2020. This improved schedule will apply in two, three and four teacher schools and ensure one less pupil is required to retain/recruit a teacher.
This builds on measures in previous budgets which has seen improvements in the appointment and retention thresholds for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classroom teacher and more favourable enrolment thresholds for one teacher schools situated 8km or more from the nearest school of the same type of patronage and/or language of instruction.
Small schools have also benefitted from the 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule for all schools implemented in 2016 and again in 2018 which has seen the staffing schedule at primary level operating at a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher which is historically the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level.