Tuesday, 12 April 2005
Dáil Eireann Debate
806. Mr. P. Breen asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans in place in her Department to reduce class sizes in primary schools throughout County Clare; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9978/05]
Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Since 1997, the Government has dramatically increased the number of teachers in primary schools. In that time more than 4,000 additional teachers, including nearly 2,500 resource teachers, have been employed. These additional teaching posts have been used to reduce class sizes, tackle educational disadvantage and provide additional resources for children with special needs.
Average class size has been reduced from 26.6 in 1996-97 to 23.9 in 2003-04. With regard to primary schools in County Clare, I am pleased to say that the average class size in the 2003-04 school year was 23.2.
In line with Government policy, the Department of Education and Science will continue to provide further reductions in the pupil-teacher ratio within available resources subject to spending priorities within the education sector. Priority will be given to pupils with special needs, those from disadvantaged areas and those in junior classes.
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