Fianna Fáil has launched its Education policy, “Securing the Future”, which sets out the party’s vision for education in the next Government. Focusing on primary and second level, the document puts forward an ambitious strategy to restore and enhance the quality of the Irish education system.
Spokesperson on Education Charlie McConalogue explained, “Many of the remarkable advances made by previous Governments in building a quality and fair education system have been eroded by Fine Gael and Labour. Unless we act now we risk entrenching a new generation of inequality.
“The most logical place to start is with our overcrowded classes. Many of the youngest students in primary school are being taught in “super-size” classes of 30-40 pupils. Fianna Fáil is committed to reducing class sizes, reaching an average maximum size of 23 pupils by 2020. This will be achieved by employing an extra 5,500 teachers.
“Since coming to office, this Government has set about dismantling the system of automatic entitlement for special education. In particular, young children face extremely long delays in getting access to assessment, diagnosis and treatment for developmental delays.
“One of the headline reforms outlined in this policy is to introduce new Early Intervention Teams, which will be situated ‘on-site’ in pre-schools and primary schools. By providing on-site visits through multi-disciplinary teams – including Speech and Language, Paediatric Occupational and Physiotherapists – to schools and pre-schools, children can be assessed for developmental delays at an early age, and receive early interventions and ongoing continuity of care by the same group of professional therapists.
“Fianna Fáil will reverse the cuts imposed on programmes aimed at improving educational outcomes for disadvantaged pupils. We will remove the cap on the expansion of the DEIS Programme to new schools, restore Guidance Counselling to schools and increase supports to the School Completion Programme across all communities.
“Fine Gael and Labour have no vision or strategy for developing essential skills that are vital for our economy and society, in particular modern languages and computing skills. We will introduce measured curriculum reforms including the re-establishment of the Modern Languages in Primary School Programme and initiate a basic Computational Science curriculum at primary level, leading on to a more advanced curriculum for second level”.
“I believe that we need a Government with fresh ideas, which understands the importance of education for securing our children’s and our country’s future. I proudly present this policy as a blueprint for securing such a future”.
You can read the Securing the Future policy document here.