Sinn Féin's Kathleen Funchion backs motion to reduce ‘unsafe’ school class sizes

Brian Keyes

Reporter:

Brian Keyes

KATHLEEN FUNCHION

Deputy Kathleen Funchion is the Sinn Fein spokesperson for Education

Local Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion  has backed plans to properly invest in our education system, so schools will be able to meet the challenges of reopening fully and safely.

She has called on all TDs in the local area to support the Sinn Féin motion being debated in the Dáil this week which will ensure schools get the financial and logistical support they need.

Teachta Funchion said: “Today Sinn Féin are publishing a motion to compel the Government to properly fund our education system, so that schools will be able to meet the challenges of reopening fully and safely.

“This includes beginning the important work of reducing our class sizes, which have been far too high for too long and are now unsafe.

“I welcome that the Department for Education has now finally published a roadmap. However, this was long overdue and I am concerned that the Department’s delays leaves teachers and parents just weeks to organise.

“We have a huge task ahead of us and this will be made harder without proper investment for schools. We need proper investment, not just short term fixes to see us through the next few weeks or months.

“While it is true that no-one could have predicted the scale and manner of the Covid-19 pandemic, we also must acknowledge how failure to invest in our schools has put them in a particularly vulnerable position which meant many were already stretched close to breaking point.

“For decades, we have seen chronic underfunding of schools. This has brought us to a position whereby we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe.

“It has also resulted in schools being understaffed and deprived of basic resources.

“While all of these things have been unfair for many years, due to the pandemic this is now not only unfair but also unsafe as huge class sizes make it almost impossible to follow public health guidelines such as social distancing. I am calling on all TDs in this area to back the motion when it comes to the Dáil for a vote on Thursday and secure this commitment to reducing school classes to smaller, safer sizes.”