Funding is at a critical all time low.. Take a 3 teacher school for example it has been hit for cuts in the region of 7000 over the last 2 budgets. Schools are in dire straits. The Irish Pupil teacher ratio is on average the second highest in all the EU. As we have heard our classrooms are overcrowded as it is, inccreasing pupil teacher ratio to satisfy economists in the department of finance is simply a non runner We need to fund our primary education system properly if we are to yield results.
2.This government is implementing strict budgets in areas such as education and health and saying they have no alternatives. I fully understand that money does not grow on trees and we have targets to reach but to say we have no alternatives is simply untrue.
3. The big elephant in the room is taxation. This government spins the fact that if we tax high earners they will flee the country. This is absolutely ridiculous. We have some very wealthy people in this country and to claim that they cannot afford to pay a little more in these extraordinrary times is simply unbelievable.
4. We also have to look within department budgets. This current minister releases one glossy document after another. Take school self evaluation as an exampe. The concept is laudible that schools would improve and set plans to improve. This is however meant to happen with no extra resources being put in. This is just adding to endless paperwork for principals and boards of management but you really have to question it’s worth. It’s worth for this minister is PR, that is that he will be seen in the media to be a reforming minister. The sad reality is this exercise is costing money with people being hired to put these glossy reports together to provide the minister with a photo opportunity. I would far rather see teachers hired to teach in classrooms rather than to see people being hired to commison one report after another.
5. My message is clear for this government; No more can be given in primary education either in the form of funding or teacher cuts. Open your eyes and atleast look at the possibility of taxation for the high earners in our country. Also look within departments and ask yourself the question ; which is of more value a teacher working in the classroom or an academic commissioning some fanciful report. I know where my priorities would lie. The minister ought to abandon his PR exercises and make it his priority to keep teachers working in the classroom