More than 240 classrooms in Cork with over 30 pupils; ‘Supersize’ classes must go says TD

The highest number of students in a primary school in Cork County last year was 38
More than 240 classrooms in Cork with over 30 pupils; ‘Supersize’ classes must go says TD

Overall, there were 2,120 primary school classes nationwide with 30 pupils or more during the academic year.

A CORK TD has said that “supersize” school class sizes must be phased out of the education system.

New figures released from the Department of Education show there were 208 classes with 30 pupils or more in Cork County, and 35 classes with more than 30 pupils in Cork City, in the academic year 2021-2022.

Overall, there were 2,120 primary school classes nationwide with 30 pupils or more during the academic year.

The highest number of students in a primary school in Cork County last year was 38, while the highest number of students in a Cork City primary school was 34.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, said there needs to be increased investment in the education system in the upcoming budget.

“Too many of our children’s quality of education is being affected by high class sizes. There are countless classes that are far too big, in buildings too small, and not fit for purpose.”

“These classes are far too big, and it does have an impact on their ability to reach their full potential. It is grossly unfair on both the teachers and children,” he said.

Encouragingly, the average class size in both Cork County and Cork City has decreased marginally in the last three years.

In Cork City, it has dropped from 22.3 in 2019, to 21.4 in 2021. In Cork County, it has dropped from 24.5 in 2019 to 22.9 in 2021.

However, Cork TD Deputy Ó Laoghaire said the numbers in some areas are ‘shocking’. “In Cork County, there were 208 classes with 30 pupils or more. These figures are shocking.

'SIMPLY UNNACCEPTABLE"

“There were classes of 38 pupils in Cork County Council, Limerick, Galway City Council, and Laois. Classes with 39 pupils in Monaghan. This is simply unacceptable, and would clearly put teachers and students under severe pressure,” he added.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said Minister for Education Norma Foley has a “historic” opportunity to reduce the average class size in a year.

“The Minister has an opportunity to do this by sufficiently investing in our education system in the upcoming budget, and making progress in reducing class sizes to the EU average.

“The Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) is campaigning for a two-point reduction in average class size in a single year, and I urge the Minister to listen to this.

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD.

“Our children deserve the best in terms of their education,” said the Cork TD. “Evidence shows that pupils do better and are better served with smaller class sizes. It is time to invest sufficiently in our education system. Our children currently are not getting the quality of education that they need and deserve,” he said.

David Keohane, secretary of the Skibbereen INTO branch, said smaller classes ensure children receive more time and attention.

“If there are 30 or more pupils in a classroom, with the best will in the world teachers cannot give the children the attention they deserve.

“Once upon a time, the measure of a teacher was how many children they could teach in the one room, but those days are gone. Children need more time and individual attention now,” he said.

“Ultimately, schools are about the children. A big effort was made last year, and the numbers came down, which was excellent.

“Minister Foley has made a start on tackling the issue, and I would urge her to keep going. We will do the work. The children need the attention.”

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130
EL_music

Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add Echolive.ie to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more