4 August 2021
By Tom Collins
TD for Cork South Central and Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, has called on the Minister for Education to urgently tackle large class sizes, as figures released to him show there are over 2,500 classes across the country with over 30 kids.
Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:
“The pandemic has shone a light on the fact that our education system is underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded. It is clear that overcrowding in classrooms is a huge problem.
“Figures provided to me via a recent Parliamentary Question show that there were over 2,500 classes across the country with over 30 kids last year, with 294 of those classes in County Cork. The average class size in Cork in 2020 was 23.5, well above the EU average of 20.
“The reality is, that keeping school buildings open in the last year was made much more difficult because we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe. There are countless classes that are far too big, in buildings too small, and not fit for purpose. In Cork, for example, there was up to a shocking 37 kids sharing one classroom last year.
“If there ever was a time to tackle this issue, and to drastically reduce class sizes down to the EU average of 20, surely it is now.
“The government must immediately undertake an audit of class sizes across the country, and work to address this issue sooner rather than later, so that schools can remain open in a safe and sustainable way in the coming months.”