How has Education fared under Budget 2016? Here are the main points from today's announcements:
2,260 new additional Teaching Posts have been announced in Budget 2016. This figure includes:
- 550 teachers, mainly at post-primary level, with 300 of these earmarked to enchance Guidance Counselling and the other 250 to provide deputy principal support in schools with fewer than 500 students
- 600 new Resource Teachers
- 810 Mainstream Teachers to address demographic demand
- 300 Primary Teachers and
Provision for an extra 610 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) has also be put in place.
The additonal teachers at secondary school level will mean that the pupil teacher ratio is set to fall from the current level of 19 : 1 to just 18.7 : 1. 810 Mainstream Teachers will be put in place to address demographic demand, alongside 600 new Resource Teachers.
Of the 550 post-primary level teachers signalled - 300 of these posts are allocated to enchance Guidance Counselling and school leadership.
Despite calls to Government to restore Guidance, there had been no specific allocation ringfenced under previous Budgets. It had been anticipated this year that, if Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s overall funding allocation under Budet 2016 permitted it, extra teaching allocations would be made for the 720-plus second-level schools. The issue of Guidance unites all groups lobbying for second level, following the removal of guaranteed minimum guidance provision in every school from 2012. Minister O'Sullivan has not disappointed.
Schools currently have autonomy to keep Guidance Counsellors strictly in that role, the effective increase in second-level pupil-teacher ratios (PTRs) has seen many of them spending most of their week teaching curricular subjects instead. The ESRI, among others, suggests that the effects of guidance cuts are probably felt disproportionately by disadvantaged students and those who should benefit most from counselling and pastoral duties.
Betty McLaughlin, President of the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, has described the allocation as a “significant turnaround”. She welcomed allied plans by Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan to issue a circular to schools instructing that the new allocation be ringfenced for counselling.
The Pupil teacher ratio at primary school level is to be reduced from the current level of 28 : 1 to 27 : 1, towards tackiling what are currently the largest class sizes for this age group in Europe, after the UK.
There will be 300 new Teachers at Primary level to reduce class sizes.
Pre School /After School
- 15 million allocated to fund children with disabilities in early childhood settings
- All children to avail of free pre-school/childcare from age 3 to 5 and a half or when they start primary school
- €3m being provided to develop after-school in school buildings
The CareersPortal Team