EDUCATION – High Five Towards Improve Learning Process

by Gazette Reporter
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If I were the Minster for Education, the first strategies that I would implement would be

  1. Provision for children with special educational needs
  2. Collect data and undertake capacity planning early into each school year to know how many children require a special school or special class place the following September, and where these children are located.
  3. Address issues with recruitment and retention of SNA’s.
  • Reduce costs of education on families
  • Make education truly free.
  • Regulate how schools implement school uniform policies.
  • Regulate how schools can seek voluntary contributions.
  • Expand the school transport scheme and phase out fees.
  • Introduce a fully free schoolbook scheme for all children in publicly funded schools.
  • Expand the hot meals programme in schools.
  • Launch a “Back to School Bonus”, a double payment of child benefit in July to allow parents to meet back to school costs.
  • Smaller class sizes and better facilities
  • Reduce pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools to the EU average of 20:1 by September 2024 (the current ratio is 24:1).
  • Build additional classroom space required to implement reduced ratio and facilitate smaller class sizes.
  • Ensure all post-primary schools have access to a PE hall by the time changes to the Senior Cycle PE syllabus are introduced in September 2024.
  • Divestment of religious patronage

I would ensure that parental choice is realised. The current Minister and her department are not responding quickly enough to the demand that exists from parents for an educational choice for their children. Programme for Government commits to 400 multi-denominational schools by 2030; there are currently 164. The minister announced in March 2022 a pilot project for eight locations.

  • Increase funding for our schools
  • Increase capitation rates so schools won’t have to rely on voluntary contributions and parent fundraising.
  • Pave the way for an end to voluntary contributions when it has been determined that schools are sufficiently funded to operate without a need for external funding.

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