Fianna Fáil TD for Mayo Dara Calleary has expressed his alarm that 11 small schools in the county are to lose a teacher this September. The decision was confirmed following a parliamentary question to Minister Ruairi Quinn last week. The number of schools in Mayo having a teacher cut is substantially higher than any other county in the country.
Deputy Calleary commented, “This is yet another attack by this Government on small schools, and more specifically small schools in Mayo. Eleven small schools across the country will see a teacher cut when the next school year begins. These are schools with no more than four teachers as it is, and will now be forced to do more with less. This decision will not only create additional stress for the teachers in these schools, it will also have a major impact on the pupils and their quality of education.
“Ireland is widely recognised for producing excellent teaching graduates, however, these teachers have been attacked year on year by Minister Ruairi Quinn. He has consistently allowed pupil teacher ratios to rise, while at the same time, cutting teacher numbers in small schools. These decisions are posing a major threat to the future of small schools in Mayo and have been undertaken by a Dublin based Minister who appears to have no consideration for the geography of the county, or any understanding of the importance of a school in a rural community.
“30 small schools are to lose a teacher this September. 11 of these schools are in Mayo. This is a clear indication that schools in the West of Ireland are being disproportionately hit by these cuts. The Minister has also refused to give a date for the publication of the Value for Money review, which could determine the future of these schools, despite the fact that he has had the report on his desk since last year. This issue was raised in the Dáil this week during Education Questions, although Minister Quinn failed to appear in the Chamber, choosing to substitute Junior Minister Cannon to answer on his behalf.
“Government TDs in Mayo have done nothing to try and stop this sustained assault on small schools. It’s time these Deputies stood up for their constituents and their children and demand a stop to these cuts”.