Poster sizes

Department for Education responds to finding that County Kildare’s class sizes are the largest in the country

The Department for Education has responded to recently released data which showed County Kildare’s class sizes are the largest in the country.

On Monday July 4, Minister Norma Foley revealed the news that in Kildare there is an average class size of 24.7 pupils per teacher.

Suburban counties around Dublin have the largest primary level classrooms in the country, while Mayo has the smallest with 20.9 pupils per teacher at primary level: however, these are still above European averages.

The average class size in Irish primary schools is 24 pupils per class, compared to a European average of 20 pupils per class and an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 21 pupils.

“COMMITMENT TO SEEKING NEW PROGRESS”

Speaking to the leader of Leinster, a department spokesman said that under the program for the government there is a commitment to seek to make further progress in reducing pupil-teacher ratios in primary schools .

They explained, “At the primary level, the annual enrollment calendar determines the assignment of teachers to schools.

“The staffing schedule has been improved under both budgets over the past two years.”

The spokesperson also said that for the 2022/23 school year, the enrollment schedule for primary schools has been improved by one point, and schools will be staffed with class teachers on the basis of one teacher per year. 24 students.

“This means that our primary schools will be provided with the most favorable level ever seen in September,” they added.

STUDENT-TEACHER RATIO

In addition, the spokesperson said lower thresholds apply to DEIS Urban Band 1 schools giving a class size of 19:1 in primary schools, 21:1 in vertical schools (schools with junior and senior classes ) and 23:1 in graduate schools (The DEIS program serves more than 180,000 students each year and this number will increase to 240,000 starting in September).

The spokesperson clarified: “1,750 additional positions in schools are being created in the 2022/23 school year, including 1,330 teaching positions to respond to a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio and additional teachers in special education; this builds on a similar one-point reduction in Budget 2021, which supported the creation of 1,065 positions.

“Budget 22 also provided lower staff retention levels for all elementary schools.”

LATEST FIGURES

Explaining how the latest figures were calculated, they said: “The latest figures, which relate to the pupil-teacher ratio (which calculates the number of pupils in a school as a ratio of the total number of teachers employed in the school, including classroom teachers, specialist teachers, etc.), shows an improvement in the teacher to pupil ratio from 16:1 to 14.5:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the school year 2020/21.

“This compares favorably to the OECD student-teacher ratio which is 1:15. Over the same period, the enrollment schedule has dropped from 28:1 to 25:1 for this school year.

“Average class size fell from 24.9 to 23.3 over the same period.”

The spokesperson concluded: “The latest budget announcement will continue the positive trend of improving class sizes, and statistics on this will be released later in the year.”

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