Poster sizes

TD hits ‘huge’ classes at Laois

A TD has denounced the “shocking” and “absolutely huge” size of classes in Laois, where 28 classes have more than 30 children.

Laois Offaly TD Brian Stanley said “in Laois there were 28 classes with 30 or more students; these large numbers were also seen in Offaly which has 35 primary school classes with over 30 pupils. These figures are shocking.”

He said that “figures obtained by Sinn Féin showing that there were 2,120 primary school classes across the state with 30 or more pupils in the 2021-2022 school year, underline the need for increased investment in our education system in the next budget. The Laois/Offaly figures are particularly concerning.”

“The quality of education for too many of our children is affected by large class sizes. There are countless classes that are way too big, and I urge the minister to address this urgently,” he insisted.

“Some of these classes are absolutely huge and would clearly put teachers and students under great pressure. Last school year, there were classes with no less than 38 pupils in Laois and 37 in Offaly. It is simply unacceptable.”

He said his party wanted to abolish all classes with more than 30 pupils and never allow them to return while striving to reach the European average of 20 children per class.

“The Minister has a historic opportunity to introduce a two-point reduction in average class size in a single year. The minister has an opportunity to do this by investing enough in our education system in the next budget and making progress in reducing class sizes to the EU average,” said MP Stanley.

He explained that the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) is campaigning for a two point reduction in average class size in a single year. “I urge the Minister to listen to them and work to reduce the size of our primary classes in line with the EU average. I have met their representatives again this year and they have stressed to me the importance of progress in this case,” he said.

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“Evidence shows that students do better and are better served with smaller class sizes. The complexity of the contemporary classroom is such that, with larger class sizes, teachers struggle to meet the wide range of needs that children now present,” said MP Stanley.

“When class sizes are more reasonable, modern teaching methods work more effectively and teachers can spend the necessary time with children. This is particularly important for children with additional needs and those from disadvantaged communities,” he noted.

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