Calleary alarmed at expected jump in one teacher schools

Back to schoolMayo Deputy Dara Calleary as expressed his alarm at revelations that an additional 52
two-teacher schools across the country are on course to lose a teacher in
September.

In reply to questions from Fianna Fáil in the Dáil, the Minister for Education
Ruairí Quinn said there are currently 8 one teacher schools in the country, but
that this could jump to 50 in September based on current enrolment
figures.

“These figures show the impact that the Government’s attack on small schools is having
on the ground.  Minister Quinn announced rolling increases in the pupil teacher
ratio at small schools in his first budget in office. Already, a number of Mayo
schools have seen their staffing levels cut as a result.  And now it seems that
more are in the firing line,” said Deputy Calleary.

“As it stands, 52 two teacher schools are on course to be downgraded to one teacher
schools because their pupil numbers are below the new threshold of 20 required
by Minister Quinn to retain two teachers.
In addition, 61 three teacher schools have fallen below the new threshold for
retaining all of their teachers, and have already lost a teacher or are at risk
of losing a teacher in the future.  Similarly, 50 four teacher schools have been
caught by the new pupil teacher ratio and have already been hit with cuts or are
on course for future cuts to staffing levels.

“This is real evidence of the Government’s targeted campaign against small schools,
particularly in the West of Ireland.  The burden of Minister Quinn’s changes to
the pupil teacher ratio has fallen on rural schools in this region.  It’s an
extremely blunt policy introduced by a Dublin based Minister who is failing to
consider the geography of an area, a school’s particular ethos or the school’s
position on the community.

“The sheer numbers of schools affected is further proof that this an underhand
campaign to eventually force schools in more rural areas to amalgamate. Too many
communities in Mayo have seen their local services reduced in recent years.  Any
attempt to force local schools to close must be resisted,” said Deputy
Calleary.