Longford’s primary schools are among the most overcrowded in the country, according to the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation.
Figures released yesterday show that almost 90 per cent of pupils are in classes greater than the EU average, a figure which equates to more than 1,214 children. One fifth are in ‘supersize’ classes of 30 or more pupils.
General Secretary of the INTO, Sheila Nunan, described the findings as a wake-up call for the Minister for Education and called on Ruairí Quinn to stop the rise in over-crowded classes.
“Irish class sizes are back to where they were a decade ago and getting worse,” she said.
Ms Nunan also expressed her concerns over the worsening pupil-teacher ratio as non-class teachers are cut from the system and more responsibility is put on class teachers to meet the demands of children with little English, special needs and disadvantaged backgrounds, saying “the Minister needs to spell out how he intends to staff schools for the coming years so that teachers can meet the needs of all pupils.”
More than 100,000 children nationwide are in classes with more than 30 pupils, an increase of 10 per cent on last year.