Cllr. Orla Leyden demands that the Government reverse its decision to take teachers from ten rural schools in Co. Roscommon in September 2014
Cllr. Orla Leyden called on the government to reverse its decision to take teachers from ten rural schools in Co. Roscommon this September 2014 at a special meeting addressed by Charlie McConalogue T.D., Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Education on the future of small schools held in Hestors, Castlerea last Monday night (10th February).
Deputy McConalogue told the meeting that that as a result of cuts introduced by the Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn, schools with 1,2,3 and 4 teachers are being subjected to phased increases in their Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR) over a two year period. This means that all schools with 86 pupils will have less staff, bigger classes and less funding. “Many of our local schools have been crippled by cuts to resources. The abolition of the Summer Works Scheme and the Minor Works Grant over the past two years has made a bad situation worse. On top of that, schools with less than 86 pupils are facing additional cuts to resources as Minister Quinn targets their Pupil Teacher Ratio .
Cllr. Orla Leyden said that it was crucial the government’s plan of severe cuts for ten rural schools in Co. Roscommon is exposed and that the government reverses its decision in order to save the teachers and support hours in these schools come next September. Cllr. Leyden said that the government’s reluctance to name the schools at risk is very underhand as it is not giving the schools in question, management and parents an opportunity to mobilise and fight the proposed cuts in these rural schools. Cllr. Leyden said that she welcomed the commitment by Charlie McConalogue T.D., Fianna Fail Spokesperson on Education who addressed the meeting in Castlerea to demand a response from Government on which schools are be hit.
Cllr. Orla Leyden said that she utterly condemns this Fine Gael led Governments continued cuts to rural services in general and threats to small rural schools. She stressed the important role that Primary schools play in their local areas – “they are at the heart of their rural communities. It is vital that these schools remain open and operational without cuts to staffing, learning support hours and administration support that could squeeze them out of existence and force unwanted amalgamations”
Cllr. Leyden’s call at the meeting to reactivate the “Save our Schools Campaign” to support rural schools and pressurize the government to reverse its decision to take teachers from ten rural schools in Co. Roscommon this September 2014 was welcomed.