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.
Hey, what’s the Story of Your Stuff?
EPA invites second-level students to consider the environmental impact of everyday items and consumption decisions
The Story of Your Stuff competition combines creativity and science, giving students the chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school, alongside a new Climate Topic Prize
The young people who influence the trends of today will be the decision-makers of tomorrow and are encouraged to consider how their everyday decisions can have a positive impact on the environment – and the world. That’s according to Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA Programme Manager, launching The Story of Your Stuff, an EPA competition aimed at secondary school students, which seeks to empower young people to make environmentally conscious decisions about their ‘stuff’ and everyday activities.
Now in its fourth year, the competition brings together curiosity, creativity and science, and aims to get young people thinking about sustainability, climate action and environmental protection, and to spread the word among their friends and family. Entrants are tasked with highlighting the environmental impact of an everyday item or activity by creatively telling its story through a visual medium.
Entrants to the competition will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school, while a new ‘Climate Topic Prize’ will be awarded to the entry that best addresses key climate considerations, such as carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions or climate action.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Derham said:
“Many young people are deeply concerned about the climate and environmental emergency now facing us worldwide, something that has been well flagged by evidence from scientists, including the EPA. Urgent transformational change is now required to meet these challenges, based on what the evidence is telling us. The EPA is calling on second-level students to enter The Story of Your Stuff competition and to use their artistic talents to create stories to inspire others to make low carbon and environmentally conscious consumption choices.”
Last year’s winners were Shurooq Azam, Aldiana Hoxha, Kar Gong Leong and Tomi Ayibiowu from Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School, Dublin 15, who made a video on the story of a toothbrush.
Colette Ryan of the EPA said:
“The Story of Your Stuff competition gets people thinking, talking and making changes and identifying ways in which they can become responsible consumers. The competition is a real highlight in the EPA calendar and a testament to the students who take the time to explore the story of their stuff and to the teachers who guide them. We look forward to seeing the projects from this year’s entrants.”
Competition guidelines and tips are available at http://www.
‘ABOUT MY SCHOOL’ STORY WRITING COMPETITION
Tipperary Allianz Cumann na mBunscol are inviting pupils in Rang 3 – 6 to submit a piece of writing (no longer than 300 words) on the above topic. They should seek to describe what they love about the culture of GAA in their own school.
Any school submitting a piece to us should have parental consent before sending on the piece.
Ideally a group photo of any GAA activity in the school should accompany the piece. The winning piece each week will be included with this report and will appear in the local newspapers. The name of the pupil who wrote the piece can appear alongside it.
All stories can be emailed to John Manley PRO Tipperary CUMANN NA MBUNSCOL at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FF will freeze student fees and fully restore post-graduate grants – Goldsboro
Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Tipperary Cllr. Imelda Goldsboro says her party is determined to make third level education affordable again and has put forward a range of measures to ease the financial burden on students.
The party plans to establish a new Department of Higher Education and Research to ensure that the demands of third level do not fall through the cracks as has been happening under Fine Gael.
Cllr. Goldsboro said, “Fianna Fáil has a proud record of expanding free education and transforming the lives of generations of Irish people. We want to continue that tradition and have placed education at the heart of our strategy.
“The high cost of third level can often deter students from applying to college in the first place. I believe that every young person should have the chance to broaden their horizons and their opportunities through education and my party is committed to freezing student fees if elected to government.
“The undergraduate maintenance grant is a key tool to alleviate the pressure on students and their families. The Cassells report specified the need for additional investment to deliver a more effective system of student financial aid, and if elected to government, my party will increase the undergrad maintenance grant by 20%.
“Fianna Fáil has secured a partial row back on some issues as part of the Confidence and Supply Arrangement but we want to go further. As part of our affordability pledge, we will fully restore post-graduate grants to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background or financial situation, can have the opportunity to undertake a post graduate course.
“Improving our education system has been a core objective of Fianna Fáil since its foundation and in government we will continue to push for better access and supports for all”.