Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has called on Minister for Education Norma Foley to urgently tackle large class sizes, as figures released to Sinn Féin show there are over 2,500 classes across the country with over 30 children.

Teachta Crowe said:

“The pandemic has shone a bright light on the fact that our education system is underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded. It is clear that overcrowding in classrooms is a growing problem and needs to be urgently tackled.

“Recent figures provided to Sinn Féin show that there were over 2,500 classes across the country with over 30 children last year, with 169 of those classes in the South Dublin County Council area. This is the highest in the state outside of Cork County. The average class size in South Dublin in 2020 was more than 24, well above the EU average of 20.

“The know that keeping school buildings open in the last year was made much more difficult because we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe. There are countless classes that are far too big, in buildings too small, and not fit for purpose without substantial investment. In one South Dublin school last year, there was a shocking 35 children sharing a classroom last year.

“The first step in ensuring that educational standards and safety protocols are maintained, is by drastically reducing class sizes down to the EU norm of 20.

“Surely, if there ever was a time to tackle this issue, it is now.

“The government must immediately undertake an audit of class sizes across the country, and work to address this issue sooner rather than later, so that schools can remain open in a safe and sustainable way in the coming months. I want to see schools in the South Dublin Council area top of league table for educational achievements, not for large, outdated classrooms.”