New figures published on Monday showed that nearly 90% of pupils in Kilkenny schools are in classes of 20 or more. While 27% of pupils are in classes of more than 30 children. The figures are the latest available official figures on Irish class sizes.
The general secretary of the INTO Sheila Nunan described the figures as shocking and said the government was not tackling the problem of overcrowded classes which was getting worse particularly in urban areas and commuter counties. In 2007, 21% of pupils in Limerick were in classes of more than thirty. Today that figure has risen to 27
The INTO has called the figures “a wake-up call for the parents of Kilkenny’s 10,000 primary school pupils” in advance of the next budget. The union said Ireland’s classes are the second most overcrowded in Europe and twenty percent higher than the EU average.
Ms Nunan said there is widespread agreement that younger children do not do as well in over-crowded classes. “When class numbers are reasonable modern teaching methods are possible and there is more teacher time for children. If we want to improve education outcomes for children the last thing that should be done is increase class sizes,” she added.