Audit of primary teachers sought as pupil numbers rise 10,000

Call for provision of sufficient teachers in the ‘priority subjects’ of the future

Ruairí Quinn: said  constant pupil-teacher ratios ref
lected the way the Government had “prioritised education” at a time of financial crisis.
welcomed the fact that despite these increased numbers

Ruairí Quinn: said constant pupil-teacher ratios ref lected the way the Government had “prioritised education” at a time of financial crisis. welcomed the fact that despite these increased numbers

Mon, Jun 30, 2014, 07:59

School principals have called for an audit of teaching resources as new figures published today confirm the number of primary school pupils has surged by almost 10,000. Clive Byrne, the director of National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals, said the key annual statistics for 2013-14 academic year highlighted the need for providing sufficient teachers in the “priority subjects” of the future.

While he welcomed the recruitment of 1,000 extra teachers this year to protect the staff-student ratio, he said: “It is equally vital that there is the correct match between the subjects most in demand and sufficient numbers of teachers qualified to teach these subjects”. He noted the Government had placed great emphasis on positioning Ireland as a global tech hub, “making it essential that we have sufficient numbers of teachers qualified to teach in science, computing and maths subjects.

“We have called on the Minister for Education to undertake a full audit of our teaching resources for the years ahead. This audit would include examining the numbers of teachers expected to retire in the years ahead; the subjects they currently teach and an analysis of whether we will have sufficient teaching graduates qualified to teach the priority subjects in the years ahead.”

The department statistics for 2013-14 academic year show that the number of children at primary school has increased by 9,895 at primary level to 528,562. The number at post-primary (excluding PLCs) has increased by 4,331 to 333,175. The primary pupil-teacher ratio has dropped slightly from 16.4 to 16.3, while it remains constant at second level at 13.9. Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn said this reflected the way the Government had “prioritised education” at a time of financial crisis.

The total number of primary schools is now at 3,286, down seven on last year. This decrease is a combination of the establishment of 16 new schools, mainly in areas of growing population, and the closure or amalgamation of 23 schools.

There are now 1,351 primary schools with fewer than 100 pupils, with 600 of these having fewer than 50. The average class size in primary schools has remained relatively unchanged, at 24.8.

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