Cuts to rural disadvantaged schools
Sir, – We write in relation to the withdrawal of teaching posts from 16 rural disadvantaged schools from September 2012.
Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn apologised for targeting disadvantaged schools earlier this year and announced a review of these cuts.
While urban disadvantaged schools were invited to participate in this review we in rural disadvantaged schools were afforded no such opportunity.
There was simply a blanket cut made to all of our concessionary teachers.
The loss of these teachers at one of the most difficult times our economy has ever faced is going to add to the level of disadvantage that children in deprived rural communities already face.
Many of us work in communities ravaged by unemployment with up to 35 per cent and more of their population on the live register. This is over twice the national average.
Many are single parent families – research indicates that these children are at risk of consistent poverty.
The concessionary teaching posts have enhanced the life chances of targeted children, resulted in improvements in literacy and numeracy standards and ensured that children at risk of early school leaving have made successful transition to second level schools.
We urge the Minister to consider the consequences of removing concessionary teachers – a retrograde step which will result in falling standards and a breakdown in the social cohesion within our communities.
At a time when our country is facing huge challenges we need to harness the potential of all our children and maintain current educational standards. – Yours, etc,