Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan, has welcomed confirmation he sought from government in this year’s Budget that the pupil teacher ratios for primary schools be maintained at 28:1, DEIS schools at 18.25:1,post-primary schools at 19:1 and fee-charging schools at 23:1.
Deputy Phelan also said Kilkenny and the entire South East region which is heavily dependent on tourism will benefit from the extension
of the reduced 9% VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality industry.
The inclusion of Kilkenny in the Living City Initiative is “perhapsthe most exciting opportunity for the city and its environs in anentire generation” he added. It will see the city benefit from regeneration and an injection of life into the city’s historic,residential and retail spaces under the pilot tax incentive.
The Kilkenny TD, who worked as a teacher for a while, described the protection of the ratios as “a victory for our children’s future learning.”
Deputy Phelan had lobbied hard and voiced his concerns and those of the Kilkenny public to Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn TD, when fears grew that classrooms would be more crowded as the government made efforts to balance the Budget. “I am delighted that, despite the fact an adjustment of €2.5 billion has to be taken out of the economy again next year, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Education, Ruairí Quinn TD recognise the need not to change the pupil/teacher ratios in all of our school.
“I worked as a secondary school teacher for only a short while but I am only too familiar with the importance of trying to keep classes as small as possible. There are significant benefits for children, particularly younger children who are new to the system and may have educational difficulties which have not been identified. It is also best in giving them the best start.
“I am delighted that following intensive lobbying these ratios remain unchanged. I would hope that over the lifetime of this government that as our financial position improves that we will be in a position to again reduce class sizes and give our workforce of the future an even better start in life,” Deputy Phelan concluded.