Fianna Fáil has said there is a mounting threat to the future of small schools as the Government continues to sit on a report which could determine their future.
In response to questions from Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue in the Dáil today the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn again refused to commit to a date for publishing the Value for Money review, which he has had since early this year.
“Minister Quinn has been sitting on this report for about nine months now, while uncertainty looms over the future of schools with less than 85 pupils. This uncertainty is highly damaging, as parents will understandably be less likely to send their children to a local school whose future is in doubt,” explained Deputy McConalogue.
“It’s my suspicion that this is exactly what Minister Quinn wants. He is deliberately creating uncertainty over the future of small schools as part of plan to squeeze them out. He has repeatedly cut resources for smaller schools and raised the pupil teacher ratio. It’s all part of a targeted attack aimed at forcing some small schools to merge or shut down entirely.
“What the Minister is failing to consider is the enormous value that a local school, however small, adds to its community. The Government’s targeted attack on small schools makes no consideration of a school’s ethos, its catchment area and the key role it plays in the local community.
“I am calling on Minister Quinn to end this uncertainty, immediately publish the Value for Money review and come clean about his plans in relation to small schools. Parents and staff of smaller schools throughout the country have a right to know where they stand.”