Fianna Fail TD for Cavan Monaghan Brendan Smith has today called on the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn to clarify his position on the retention of small rural primary schools following Fianna Fail’s submission to the Department of Education & Skills’s Consultation on the Small Primary Schools Value for Money Review.
“In our submission to the Department of Education’s Value for Money Review, Fianna Fail has outlined its position that small rural schools must be protected from closure.We made a strong general election pledge on retaining small rural schools and we have reiterated that today. Those of us familiar with the realities of rural living understand that as well as achieving high standards of education, schools are at the heart of our rural communities. The Department of Education must take into account the role these schools play in their community and the wider implications of closure.”
“The previous Minister for Education & Skills Mary Coughlan was consistent in her position on this matter and outlined her full commitment to the retention of small rural schools as early as last month. During her time in the Department of Education, she made clear that there was a wider dimension to any policy changes in this area. Aside from removing the focal point of many of our local communities, the closure of small rural schools would negatively impact upon dispersed rural communities, limit parental choice, limit diversity of schools provision and result in additional school transport costs.”
“In recent years Fianna Fáil doubled the number of teachers in small rural schools and stopped the plans for forced amalgamations being discussed when Labour last controlled the Department of Education. With a new Minister for Education & Skills, we would ask him to clarify his position on the retention of small primary schools as soon as possible” Concluded Deputy Smith.