Michael Healy Rae, T.D. took up an invitation to visit Scartaglin National School on Monday morning.
The purpose of the visit was to highlight the issue of class sizes as part of the I.N.T.O. ‘Room to Bloom-Reduce Class Size’ Pre–Budget Lobbying Campaign.
Its main points are to protect primary education staffing levels in the up-coming Budget 2015.
The key objectives of the campaign are to ensure no increase in class sizes in the forthcoming budget. The campaign also wants to create a platform with which to continue advocacy for smaller classes in primary schools especially in two, three and four- teacher schools which were badly affected by the Budget 2012.
“And, in a twist worthy of inclusion in any Healy Rae election-time top drawer, they told him they’d love to dance the Sliabh Luachra Set for him but they didn’t have a school hall to do it in.”
The campaign will also support a focus on special needs education where inclusion is predicated on smaller classes and the need to reverse the 15 per cent cut in resource teaching hours.
Other key issues include: The moratorium on middle management posts in post in schools must be lifted.
In schools where there is a teaching principal, an increase in release days for teaching principals to enable them to fulfil their school leadership role is required.
The current capitation grant is €176 per pupil per annum. Funding reductions made over the past years to the school capitation grant must be reversed in full.
The minor works grant and the summer works scheme must be reinstated into the annual calendar of school grants.
Deputy Healy Rae met with Scartaglin school chairman, Father Nicholas Flynn, members of the board of management and parents’ council who lobbied their T.D.
The Kilgarvan based Dáil deputy was amazed at the 17 Junior infants and 18 senior infants being taught in the multi-class setting in the ‘infant room’ in Scartaglen School. This represents a pupil–teacher ratio of 35 to one.
Scartaglen Infants were entertained by Michael’s whistling of An Poc Ar Buille – as Gaeilge gan amhras.
The 27 pupils from Ranganna V/VI played the Scart Polka as part of their Sliabh Luachra tradition for their visiting TD.
And, in a twist worthy of inclusion in any Healy Rae election-time top drawer, they told him they’d love to dance the Sliabh Luachra Set for him but they didn’t have a school hall to do it in.
With that they appealed to Mr. Healy Rae for a little ‘Spás le Fás!