The Sinn Féin TD for Donegal South West, Pearse Doherty has called on local TDs to support the Sinn Féin motion on Thursday which calls on the government to reverse cuts to schools in disadvantaged areas.
The motion also makes specific mention of the plight of small rural schools which are in danger of losing teachers, with some facing outright closure and calls for this policy to be abandoned.
Deputy Doherty told us: “Changes to the staffing schedule in Budget 2012 will mean that dozens of small primary schools across Donegal will lose teachers, forcing pupils to be taught in larger classes an remaining teachers forced to teach multiple classes.
“The government have not hid the fact that the reason that they have done this to schools with less than 86 pupils in them is to encourage these schools to close and amalgamate with other schools. Donegal is one of the worst effected counties with over 110 schools with less than 100 pupils in them.
“The Sinn Féin motion that both Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and I have co-sponsored which will be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday and Thursday this week calls for the reversal of these measures.
“While these education cuts were part of last December’s budget and are due to take effect in September of this year there has never been a vote on it until now. There is now an opportunity for those who believe in the right to a decent education regardless of where you live, to stand up and ensure that these unfair and unwise measures are revoked.”
The section of the Sinn Fein education motion “notes that phased staffing adjustments in small schools with fewer than five teachers will leave an estimated 1,500 small schools struggling with higher teacher-pupil ratios and will lead to the closure of many rural schools” and “calls upon the Government Minister for Education to rescind these cuts as a matter of urgency.”
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