Spokesperson on Education and Skills Charlie McConalogue TD has today said that Minister Quinn is yet again making the same mistakes with the education budget as he did last year.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “Minister Quinn has clearly learned nothing from the mistakes he made over the decision to cut DEIS schools last year. Last year, he partially reversed a decision to cut 428 DEIS posts after he was forced to admit it was mistake and put forward the bizarre excuse that he was “out of practice”. We said at the time that this simply wasn’t good enough, and that in future, impact assessments should be carried out prior to making changes to staffing schedules.

“However, this year we see the very same thing happening again. Minister Quinn announced in budget 2013 that the PTR for PLC schools will increase by two points, a measure that will result in the loss of up to 500 posts across a sector that provides educational opportunities for the most disadvantaged students. After two weeks of trying to highlight the true scale of this cut, Minister Quinn has finally said that he will contact all the VECs to ask them to carry out an impact assessment.

“While we welcome an impact assessment, this once again raises questions around the Minister’s “let’s wait and see” approach to decision making. Why wasn’t an impact assessment carried out prior to announcing the increase in the PTR? The colleges of further education are now being left with this savage cut hanging over them just as the DEIS schools were last year. this isn’t fair on the teachers or the students.

“In response to the Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin raising Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach simply dismissed this as a measure to bring PLCs in line with second level schools. This is a completely false comparison and displays a fundamental lack of understanding around how further education and training operates.

“Minister Quinn must ensure that each VEC carries out an impact assessment on the number of places that will be lost, the number of teachers that will be lost and the courses that will be affected due to the loss of key skills. These details must be published no later than the end January 2013.”