Daly Calls For Minister To Intervene To Retain Ballyduff Teacher

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Deputy Pa Daly.

SINN Féin TD for Kerry, Pa Daly, has called for the retention of a classroom teacher in Ballyduff N.S.

Deputy Daly said the day of classroom sizes with 30 plus students has to end and he is calling on Minister Norma Foley and the Department of Education to intervene in Ballyduff National School’s efforts to retain five classroom teachers.

“Ballyduff N.S. missed the threshold by one pupil, having 107 enrolled in September 2021,” said Deputy Daly. “Covid had a clear effect on the reduced enrolment for 2021 with some parents electing to keep children in playschool an additional year due to lost time in an environment that is key to their development”

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“Some children with additional and complex needs missed speech and language and occupational therapy appointments for months, more than a year in some cases, and this is now presenting itself in the classroom.  Many children simply did not have the resources at home to participate fully in remote learning during the pandemic.

“Some classes in Ballyduff NS will now be faced with a teacher to pupil ratio of 35:1, at a time when these students need more assistance than ever.

“The school will be included in the DEIS Rural Scheme from September 2022 on, which is an indication of the economic challenges the community is facing.  It feels particularly harsh to remove a fifth teacher when the student needs are well documented,” he added.

“Additionally, a number of Ukrainian families have been offered accommodation in the area and some are looking at the school for their children.

“Average EU class sizes are 20 pupils to one teacher.  Ireland’s average is 25 pupils to one teacher.  I know of too many schools in Kerry with 30+ pupils to one teacher and now Ballyduff will have some classes with 35 pupils to a teacher. The Department must show some vision and a real will to address this problem for all schools.”

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