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Overcrowded classes must be addressed before schools return

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19.2% of Clare pupils are in classes in excess of 30 with Cathal Crowe (FF) worried that social distancing cannot be maintained in schools with the current pupil to teacher ratio.

Schools will return as planned for the new academic year in late August. Clare TD, Crowe has called on Minister for Education, Joe McHugh (FG) to start putting provisions in place now to deal with overcrowding in classrooms across the country.

Ireland currently has a pupil-teacher ratio of 26:1, the average across Europe is 20:1. Teachers and principals in the county have expressed their frustration with the lack of communication received from the Department of Education during the pandemic and Friday’s announcement that schools would reopen with no detail yet provided to teachers on social distancing in classrooms heightening this tension.

Prior to February, Deputy Crowe was teaching in Parteen NS, he is hopeful Minister McHugh will take on board his concerns. “As a teacher myself, I know all too well how important it is to have a manageable sized class to teach, in order to teach your pupils to the best of your ability”.

“Now is the time to act. Schools are not likely to be back until September and with this lull, it’s an opportune time to look at reducing that ratio. This is another situation where, while COVID-19 is making things difficult, there is scope for correcting some issues in the education system. I hope Minister McHugh takes my points on board as a matter of priority.”

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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