BY BRIAN MOORE
PARENTS who are concerned that there are 39 children in the senior infants class at Clondrohid NS outside Macroom have been advised to take the matter up with the school’s board of management.
One parent, who did not wish to be named, contacted her local public representative and The Southern Star in an effort to highlight the number of children in the senior infants class, and the teacher staffing schedule for the same class.
It is understood that a job-sharing arrangement is in place for the senior infants class, with two teachers alternating each week.
However, while local TD Aindrais Moynihan (FF) confirmed that he is aware of parents’ concerns, he said that work was underway to solve the problem.
‘Parents locally have been in contact with me outlining their concern at the size of the senior infants class and also the way they have been looking for the school to explore different ways of splitting the class to make it smaller,’ Deputy Moynihan said.
The national average for primary school class sizes, according to the Department of Education, is 27 pupils per class.
A spokesperson for the Department said that parents should take any concerns up with the school’s board of management.
‘The Department’s guidance to schools is that the number of pupils in any class is kept as low as possible taking all relevant contextual factors into account (eg classroom accommodation, fluctuating enrolment etc). School authorities are also requested, where possible, to use their autonomy under the staffing schedule to implement smaller class sizes for junior classes,’ a statement said.
‘Schools which experience rapid increases in enrolment can apply for additional permanent mainstream posts on developing grounds, using projected enrolment for the following September, in this case September 2019. In addition, the staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to appeal the staffing allocation of the school.’
However, the spokesperson also confirmed: ‘There has been no change to the staffing of Clondrohid NS for the current school year,’ adding: ‘The Department of Education has not received an application from the school for a developing post or a staffing appeal in respect of the 2019/20 school year.’
They continued: ‘If parents are concerned about the configuration of classes and deployment of teachers, they should raise these concerns with the principal/board of management. If they are not satisfied with the outcome from that, the Department has a facility for parental complaints, which includes raising concerns about class, sizes at www.education.ie.’
There was no comment available from Clondrohid NS at the time of going to press.