Education | Improving pupil-to-teacher ratio at primary and second level
To ask the Minister for Education the degree to which the pupil-to-teacher ratio is being improved in all schools in County Kildare and throughout the country, at primary and second level; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Under the Programme for Government there is a commitment to seek to make further progress in reducing the pupil teacher ratios in primary schools.
In Budget 2023, I ensured major investment in our schools and I have succeeded in bringing the teacher allocation ratio to an average of 1 classroom teacher for every 23 pupils in all primary schools for the 2023/24 school year which is the lowest ever seen at primary level. This was my third successive Budget which saw an improvement in allocation of teachers to primary schools. Budget 2021 reduced the staffing schedule to an average of 1 classroom teacher for every 25 pupils, while Budget 2022 reduced it further to 1 classroom teacher for every 24 pupils. A three point reduction in the retention schedule, in place since 2021, assists schools that would otherwise be at risk of losing teaching posts. There is no change to the pupil teacher ratio at post-primary level. Teachers are allocated at a ratio of 19:1 in the Free Education System and 23:1 to schools in the fee-charging sector.
The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratio shows an improved ratio of teachers to pupils from 15.7:1 to 13.7:1 at primary level when comparing the 2016/17 school year to the 2021/22 school year. This compares favourably with the OECD pupil teacher ratio which is 1:15. In the same period the staffing schedule improved from 27:1 to 25:1. Average class sizes improved from 24.6 to 22.8 in the same period. The budget measures will continue the positive trend of improving class sizes for this school year, and statistics on this will be published at the end of the school year.
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