A further 30 under threat over next 18 months
A total of seven schools in County Roscommon are under threat of losing a teacher this September in the first of three rounds of cuts to the pupil teacher ratio, local TD Denis Naughten has highlighted this week.
“The Roscommon schools that have been named as potentially losing a teacher this September include Tarmon NS, Castlerea; Kilteevan NS, Roscommon; Ardkeenan NS, Athlone; Brusna NS, Ballaghaderreen; Feevagh NS, Dysart and Ballyleague NS.
However, I’m working with a number of these schools to secure the retention of their teacher based on projected future enrolments in the local school and I’m hopeful that at least some of the schools in question can retain their teacher next September,” stated Denis Naughten.
“The difficulty is that this is only round one of three rounds of cuts to teacher numbers in rural schools and based on an analysis of the currently available enrolment numbers a further 18 schools could lose a teacher over the next 18 months.
“In addition, 14 more schools will also lose a teacher if their overall pupil numbers drop by up to five pupils between now and September 2013. Sadly, a drop in numbers enrolled of five pupils could easily occur due to the changes to school transport rules to be introduced next September and due to emigration,” added Denis Naughten.
“By 2013 rural schools will need 20 pupils to retain two teachers, 56 pupils to retain three teachers and 86 pupils to retain four teachers. The fact is that this will leave a number of small rural schools struggling to survive.
“Rural schools are a vital element in rural life, being the heart of the local community. They not only educate the local children but the schools also contribute to social and cultural life and act as a force to retain and attract families into an area. These schools are crucial to the fabric of many rural communities,” concluded Denis Naughten.