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Written Answers - School Curriculum

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 762 No. 1

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 46.  Deputy Michael Colreavy Information on Michael Colreavy Zoom on Michael Colreavy  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  his views on claims by the Teachers Union of Ireland that schools are facing an estimated loss of 800,000 class periods from September 2012 onwards; his view on whether the loss of so many study hours will have a detrimental impact on the quality of education in schools here and that it will have the greatest effect on marginalised students. [19505/12]

 87.  Deputy Seán Crowe Information on Sean Crowe Zoom on Sean Crowe  asked the Minister for Education and Skills Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn  if his attention has been drawn to the recent ASTI survey that shows an estimated 67% of schools will be forced to drop at least one subject at leaving certificate level because of the changes announced Budget 2012; and if he intends to make any adjustments in policy in view of the potential impact these findings will have on the educational outcomes of many of these students. [19687/12]

Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn): Information on Ruairí Quinn Zoom on Ruairí Quinn I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 87 together.

I fully acknowledge that the reduction in resources to second level schools will be challenging for schools. However, the change must be seen in the context of the major challenges we have as a Government in trying to shelter public services to the greatest extent that we can in these exceptional times. The net impact on overall teacher numbers in our schools has been minimised to the greatest extent possible.

Schools will have autonomy on how best to prioritise its available resources to meet its requirements in relation to guidance and the provision of an appropriate range of subjects to its students. Decisions on how this is done will be taken at school level and I am confident that schools will act in the best interest of students when determining precisely how to use the teaching resources available to them.

My Department provides some limited short-term support to schools through curricular concessions in order to help them manage within their approved teaching allocation. The allocation process at post primary level also include an appeals mechanism which is set out in the circular 0009/2012 and is available on my Department’s website. For the coming school year the existing staffing appeals criteria have been extended to enable some limited phasing arrangements for schools where the combination of budget and reform measures impact on a particularly adverse manner on a school’s overall allocation.

A key priority for me is to continue to prioritise and target available funding at schools with the most concentrated levels of educational disadvantage. All 195 second-level school in DEIS have been given targeted support by a more favourable staffing schedule of 18.25:1. This is a [156]0.75 point reduction compared to the existing PTR of 19:1 that applies in non fee-paying second-level schools.


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