Fianna Fáil TD for Laois – Offaly Sean Fleming has warned that failure to act on spiralling class sizes in Laois will result in a major deterioration of education standards in the county.
Deputy Fleming has called on the Government to take action to reduce class sizes. 27% of pupils in Laois primary schools are in ‘supersize’ classes of more than 30 pupils, and the county also has one of the worst Pupil-Teacher Ratios in the country.
“It is completely unacceptable that a quarter of all classrooms across the country now breach the already too high pupil teacher ratio of 28-1” said Deputy Fleming.
“The problem is much worse in Laois as the county has one of the fastest growing populations in the country. 27% of pupils in Laois primary schools are already in oversized classes. These figures have got worse in recent years.
“The percentage of primary school pupils in class sizes of 30 or more has increased from 23% in 2011 to 27% today in county Laois. This deterioration is the fourth worst in the country with 22 other counties faring better than Laois since 2011.
“There is absolutely no doubt that children stuck in these supersized classrooms may suffer a lower standard of education despite the very best effort of teachers.
“Class sizes are getting larger and we need more teachers. The same schools in areas of growing population in Laois are being expected to take on more pupils every year without the additional resources they need.
“All of this is happening at a time when supports for children with special needs have suffered successive cuts, creating a ripple effect right across the primary school system.
“I am calling on the Government to take immediate action to reduce class sizes. This is an investment in our future. The Minister cannot stand by and allow class sizes to continue to spiral out of control.”