Class Sizes

March 12th, 2008 - abvadmin


Ceist Pharlaiminte

Chun an Aire Oideachais agus Eolaíoctha

To the Minister for Education and Science

To ask the Minister for Education and Science her Departments plans to achieve

the commitments on class size outlined in the Programme for Government; and if

she will make a statement on the matter.

– Pat Breen.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 12th March, 2008.

Reference Number: 10878/08


Minister for Education and Science (Mary Hanafin, T.D.)

As the Deputy will be aware, major improvements have been made in staffing at

primary level in recent years. There are now in the region of 6,000 more

primary teachers than there were in 2002. By the 2006/07 school year, we had

reduced the average class size in our primary schools to 24, while the pupil

teacher ratio was 16.4:1, including resource teachers etc. In that year,

schools were staffed on the basis of a general rule of at least one classroom

teacher for every 28 children. Given that the national average was 24, many

schools benefited from much more favourable staffing ratios than this.

Extra teachers were provided by the Government for the 2007/08 school year to

improve primary school staffing so that schools would generally get at least

one classroom teacher for every 27 children.

A further initiative in recent years that has been of direct benefit to primary

schools has been the change in the criteria for developing schools. For the

current school year the threshold for getting a developing school post

was reduced specifically to help schools that are seeing large increases in

enrolments each year. Over 330 such posts have been sanctioned in the 2007/08

school year compared to 280 in 2006/07.

The improvements we have made in school staffing in recent years are absolutely

unparalleled. The Government is committed to providing more teachers to our

primary schools over the next five years in order to reduce class sizes. We

will also continue our focus on measures to improve the quality of education in

our primary schools to ensure that increased resources lead to better outcomes

for our children.