Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Sorca Clarke TD, has said that Government must act urgently to cut unacceptably large class sizes.
New figures from the Department of Education, show that there were 61,345 primary school pupils in classes with 30 or more students for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Teachta Clarke said:
“Government has failed to plan and properly fund schools, which has resulted in unacceptably large class sizes. This has been raised as a concern for many years now, by unions, parents and headteachers yet Government has failed to act despite these warnings.
“Starkly, the new figures highlighted that there are over 2,400 students in classes of 35 or more spread across 61 different schools. This is clearly unacceptable.
“Rural areas appear to be particularly affected, which creates an unfair postcode lottery where children are placed at a disadvantage based on where they live.
“High class sizes have a detrimental impact on the quality of education teachers can deliver. This is affecting too many of our children across the State. Not only are countless classes far too big, they are in buildings too small, and not fit for purpose. This undermines the teaching environment and children’s ability to learn to the best of their ability.
“I am urging the Minister to urgently address this issue. There can be no more delays or excuses. All our children deserve the best chance in life, through high quality education that should be a right and not subject to a postcode lottery.
“Sinn Féin wants to put an end to classes of over 30 kids and ensure standards never slip to this stage again. We are committed to working towards the EU average of 20 children per class which supports education and learning best and allows for children who may need additional support or guidance to have that opportunity. This is particularly important for children with additional needs and those from disadvantaged communities.
“Government need to get their act together and cut class sizes to fair and appropriate levels so children get the education they deserve.”