Primary schools in Tipperary are among the most overcrowded in the country, according to new figures published on Monday. The figures show that almost ninety per cent of pupils in Tipperary schools are in classes of twenty or more.
More than 1934 pupils in Tipperary are in classes of 30 or more. The INTO said the figures showed the impact of government cutbacks on the ground in schools. The General Secretary of the INTO, Sheila Nunan described the findings as a wake-up call for the Minister. Ms Nunan said Irish class sizes were now the highest in the EU. “Irish class sizes are back to where they were a decade ago and getting worse. In 2002, average class size in Ireland was 24.5 the same as it is today. More than one hundred thousand children (112,821) are in classes of thirty pupils or more, up ten per cent on the previous year,” said Ms. Nunan.
At the same time as class sizes are rising the pupil teacher ratio is worsening as non-class teachers are cut from the system. More and more responsibility is being put on the class teacher to meet the needs of children with little English, special needs or disadvantaged backgrounds. “The Minister needs to spell out how he intends to staff schools for the coming years so that teachers can meet the needs of all pupils.”