Issue 17 - June 2011

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Traveller resource posts

The Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairi Quinn, gave further details to Mick Wallace (ind, Wexford) of the withdrawal of resource teachers for Travellers, which will come into effect on 31st August (Dail Eireann, Debates, 4th May 2011, 391). The savings would lead to a reducation of 723 whole time equivalent posts, of which 500 at primary and 223 at secondary level. 123 would be used for adjustment alleviation, so the net saving would be 600 posts. At the end of January, there were 709.54 posts. Alleviation measures were being provided to schools with high concentrations of Traveller students, focussed on schools with 33 or more supported by resource teacher posts. 38 learning support alleviation posts had been allocated to date. For those with less than 33 Traveller students, his department would consider whether further limited alleviation measures could be provided for schools that could demonstrate that they had been disproportionately affected by the alleviation-adjustment measures compared to schools of similar size and circumstances.

Mick Wallace cited the case of Clonroche National School and the consequences for it of the withdrawal of the posts. He spoke of how one teacher must cope with 48 children who needed special attention, of whom 23 were Travellers, in an enrollment of 110. Even the brightest children in the class would now suffer. In reply, Ruairi Quinn spoke of how how he had received many representations from Wexford and ‘I am not sure what can be done’. He agreed to examine this case again.