Written Answers - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.

Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 601 No. 2

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  445.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   if she has carried out an evaluation of the pupil-teacher ratio at primary and second level schools throughout the country; if any trends have been observed in schools with the highest pupil-teacher ratios; if she intends to take action to address this issue in the near future; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13159/05]

  485.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   if she intends to address the issue of high pupil-teacher ratios in the short term; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13454/05]

  486.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   if her attention has been drawn to the views expressed by INTO in respect of high pupil-teacher ratios; her proposals to identify the school or schools most affected in this way; if she has planned any action in response; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13455/05]

  487.  Mr. Durkan  Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan   asked the Minister for Education and Science  Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin   the research that has been [588]undertaken with a view to ascertaining the impact of high pupil ratios; her proposed action on foot of this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13456/05]

Minister for Education and Science (Ms Hanafin): Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  I propose to take Questions Nos. 445 and 485 to 487, inclusive, together.

I accept in principle that reduction in class size will benefit younger pupils particularly for minority-disadvantaged groups. However, there is a need to concentrate on the quality and manner of teaching as well as class size in order to achieve the benefits.

Significant improvements have been made in the pupil teacher ratio at both primary and post-primary levels in recent years. At primary level, the ratio has fallen from 22.2:1 in the 1996-97 school year to 17.44:1 in the 2003-04 school year. At post-primary level the pupil teacher ratio was reduced from 16:1 to 13.6:1 in the same period.

In line with Government policy, my Department will continue to provide further reductions in the pupil teacher ratio within available resources and 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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