More than 7,000 Ukrainian pupils enrolled in Irish schools

Numbers expected to increase when schools reopen in September

The number of Ukrainian pupils enrolled in Irish schools has climbed to 7,285, up about 500 in the space of a month.

A bigger jump in numbers is expected in September, although Minister for Education Norma Foley has said there is generally good capacity in the school system.

The Department of Education has confirmed that of the 7,285 Ukrainian pupils, just over 5,000 have been accommodated in primary schools, while 2,238 pupils are enrolled in second-level schools.

The previous update from the department showed 6,797 Ukrainian pupils had been enrolled as of June 3rd.

Dublin has the highest number of Ukrainian pupils, with 846 pupils enrolled in primary school and 401 in post-primary. Monaghan has the lowest number with 16 Ukrainian pupils in primary school and seven in post-primary.

Ukrainian pupils will be eligible to take part in three-week summer education programmes in Irish schools. These are normally targeted as children with additional needs and those living in disadvantaged areas.

The Department of Education has also announced that recently established “one-stop-shop” teams will continue to operate while schools are closed for the summer to help Ukrainian parents and guardians who plan to enrol their children in school in September. These regional education and language teams are hosted by the 16 regional education and training boards around Ireland.

Language support for Ukrainian pupils will continue for the coming school year. Latest figures show that more than 700 primary and almost 200 most-primary schools have applied for and are now receiving additional teaching resources for Ukrainian pupils.

One of the schools is Church Street National School in Rathkeale, Co Limerick, whose eight Ukrainian children have boosted pupil numbers in the two-teacher school by 25 per cent. “Our numbers here are small, so there has been huge excitement to have so many new children starting here,” said school principal Niall West. “The new children are just very happy to be here; they’ve settled in very well.”

While some politicians have expressed concern over potential overcrowding in some schools, the department said schools will be provided with class teachers on the basis of one teacher for every 24 pupils in September, a historical low ratio.

Schools experiencing rapid increases in enrolment can apply for additional permanent mainstream posts using projected enrolment.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent