“Tipperary School Principals are at breaking point,” McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Education to give serious and urgent consideration to the pleas of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) regarding the adverse consequences arising from ever increasing class sizes. Deputy McGrath was speaking after meeting with Tipperary delegates at the INTO Oireachtas pre-budget briefing at the Royal Irish Academy:


“The reality these delegates are describing around the issue of chronic over-crowding in our class rooms is truly disturbing.

Ireland currently has the second most crowded primary class sizes in the entire European Union.

This in turn is having huge knock effects in terms of the required amount of attention and one on one time that each child needs to fully engage with the educational process.

This is to say nothing of the scandalous effect it is having on some of our most vulnerable children who require SNA assistance and who have also to contend with class rooms bursting to capacity.

One of the major issues that is emerging however is the long term and unsustainable personal and professional strain which schools Principals are being subjected to because of the class size issue.

Teaching principals have one release day a week to attend to all the administrative requirements that come with that position. This is causing massive levels of stress and it must be urgently addressed by increasing the amount of release time to at least two days as it is in Northern Ireland and the UK.

The Government cannot ignore this issue come budget day and simply carry on as if the whole educational infrastructure is not creaking at the seams, which it is. Class size will be a major electoral and societal issue for the foreseeable future and it must be addressed on a variety of approaches including amongst other things increasing teacher support funding from the current paltry figure of 15%.

A neutral budget approach to this issue will only draw out the inevitable crisis that already exists and do nothing to alleviate the problems that need to be addressed as a matter of national priority,” concluded Deputy McGrath.