My children attend primary school at Scoil Mhuire, Ballymore Eustace. I am very concerned about the cuts in education introduced in the recent budget. These cuts will have several detrimental effects on primary school children.
· Increasing the pupil teacher ratio will mean teacher’s have less time to spend with individual children. If a child is having difficulty comprehending something it will be harder for the teacher to identify this and to spend time rectifying it. Children who do not ‘catch on’ to concepts immediately will be left behind. Pupils at Ballymore currently have a good record of academic achievement, facilitated by a low pupil teacher ratio. If this increases as planned in the budget standards of academic achievement will surely fall, thus limiting the options open to my children in the future.
· Children are benefitting from the new curriculum which includes group work. This helps children develop social as well as intellectual skills. Increases in class sizes will prevent teachers from carrying out this group work method effectively.
· Currently a mixed first and second class is the only split class, if the cuts are implemented more classes may be split. Children will suffer from this as they will not have the attention of the teacher all day as she/he tries to teach two different curricula in one day, perhaps even to widely differing age groups. Children preparing for First Communion or Confirmation will also suffer, as split classes leave less time for extra preparations.
· The loss of substitute cover for teachers, even for the first day of leave, is a concern for me as a parent. If pupils are sent home it will create an impossible work situation for parents. It also means that my children will miss a day of education that can never be recovered. If children are sent to other classes this will cause general disruption throughout the school.
· I am also concerned about the reduction in funding for additional services such as the Book Rental Scheme, the special education grant and IT funding. Without adequate books and IT facilities my children cannot achieve their full potential. The Government talks of Ireland becoming a ‘centre of educational excellence’. How can this happen when the foundation of our education structure, primary schools, are stepping back into the 1980’s instead of proudly into the 21st century.
· The reduction in psychological assessments is also a travesty. It affects both the children who need them and the children who must share a classroom with a child who causes disruption. Funding in this area for Ballymore has been halved, despite an increase in numbers. Delaying the diagnosis of behavioural problems results in greater costs for the individual child and those around him/her. This is a case of the Government being pennywise and pound foolish.
I am protesting these cuts as they are hurting the most vulnerable in our society, our children. As a parent I have an obligation to ensure the best for my children. The cuts outlined in the current Budget will reduce the quality of education my children receive. I look forward to hearing how you will combat these cuts and any future cuts in education spending that may be planned.
We have put this letter together to try to reverse the education cuts introduced in the recent Budget. They are targeting the most vulnerable in our society, our children. Older citizens succeeded in maintaining their medical cards through collective action. It is time we made an effort to maintain decent levels of education for our children. It may not be possible to reverse all the cuts, by expressing dissatisfaction we can ensure that the Government realize that our children are not an easy target. This should make them think twice before introducing further cuts.
We are sending these letters out, all you need to do is:
· Put your address in the top right corner
· Sign and print your name at the bottom
· Return the letter with your child as soon as possible
We will photocopy and send the letters to our public representatives. It is vital that the letters are returned urgently so that all our representatives are aware of the problems these cuts will cause. We can give them something to think about before the New Year.
When we act together we are a much more effective voice for all our children.
Please return these letters.
The Parents Association