Local election candidate John Watson has expressed his concern about the future of smaller protestant schools and small schools in general.
He states the fact that many schools are being reduced from two teachers to one teacher is leaving the future for these schools in a vulnerable position.
“The fact that one teacher could be teaching a class of eighteen children from age 4 to age 12 on their own is unsustainable. Under welfare regulations the children must be supervised by a suitably trained person at all times.
“How is this to happen in a one teacher school where the teacher will find themselves on their own for 7 hours a day with no opportunity for a break.
“One parent highlighted a potential situation where an accident might happen at school and the teacher is on their own to deal with the incident and still be responsible for the other children,” he said.
Fianna Fail candidate Watson has been informed that the number of schools being affected nationally will rise from 8 this year this could be 60 in September.
“As protestant schools tend to be smaller they will be disproportionally affected. In most cases there will not be a situation where for example one church of Ireland school can amalgamate with another as there may not be one within a reasonable distance”.
The fact that there are only 200 protestant schools out of a total of 3200 further highlights the need to protect these schools, he added.
“I feel we must work together to protect these smaller schools. We must protect the parent`s choice to have their children educated in whatever ethos they choose. The closure of a school is much like losing a garda station or post office, it is an attack on our rural community.
“We are seeing minister Quinn forcing boards of management into the unfair situation where they will have to close or amalgamate schools. One teacher has informed me that the provision of a classroom assistant would resolve the issue in most cases.
“I am calling on our government TDs and the teacher unions to again highlight the damage this decision will do and have it reversed before the next school term.”Tags: