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Ardagh concerned for staffing at local National School - Current staffing level in Assumption Girls National School must be retained -
Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader and local Senator Catherine Ardagh has raised the necessity for current staffing levels at Assumption Girls National School, Walkinstown, Co. Dublin to be retained.
Management at the school were recently notified by the Department that the second teaching post granted to them under ‘developing school’ status earlier this year, will be suppressed from this coming Friday, October 28th.
Speaking in the Seanad on the issue, Senator Ardagh said, “I am bitterly disappointed that this is my third time in recent months to raise the difficulties with class sizes and staff in Assumption Girls School, yet no solution has been reached.
“Any loss in staff will result in 90 5th & 6th class pupils being reassigned to 3 large existing classes. Most concerning is that there are quite a number of children with special or complex learning needs within this group. It will therefore not just be difficult to cater for their needs but also for the needs of the rest of the class with such unwieldy numbers.
“Even though the school is in a catchment area of high disadvantage, significant social problems and the majority of students live in areas designated as DEIS; Assumption Girls School has never received this status. Without DEIS status the school do not have the smaller pupil teacher ratio or access to critical services and professional supports.
“As an old building, classrooms are small and Pupils in a class of 30 would have space of 5.167 square feet each as opposed to the legally required 15 square feet per person.
"The loss of the 2nd teaching position in the school ultimately means that the 90 pupils in 5th & 6th class who are now divided into 4 classes will be redistributed into 3 classes and one mixed class of 5th & 6th.
"Due consideration must be given the unique circumstances in this case. The current level of staffing is not just critical for the 90 students directly impacted but also the greater school community.
"I have asked the Minister to carefully examine the difficulty faced by teachers and staff at the school working to provide an education to many, in an already challenging environment.
"The prospect of this environment becoming further pressurised is deeply troubling and I urge the Minister and his department to review an appeal to the staffing appeals board, issued on the 21h of October.”
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Senator Catherine Ardagh raises concerns about staffing levels at Assumption Senior Girls National School
Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that there has been a rollback of regressive budgetary policies and that the process of returning fairness to the centre of policymaking has been restored to the social welfare system because of Fianna Fáil’s influence in Budget 2017.
Commenting on yesterday’s Budget Senator Ardagh said, “The past five years of Fine Gael-led government have been tragic and unfair for vulnerable families and communities.
“Without the influence of Fianna Fáil, in opposition, Fine Gael would have been free to continue with their right wing agenda when it comes to social welfare.
“While we did not get everything we wanted, we did make some vital gains. I welcome the €5 per week increase in the State pension, which Fianna Fáil stipulated in the Confidence and Supply arrangement, and also the increase in other welfare payments.
“However, poverty and deprivation rates in Ireland are still shockingly unacceptable; 134,000 children are in consistent poverty, whilst almost 60% of one parent households are experiencing deprivation.
“This Budget is just the first step of many that are necessary to form a society which is fair for everyone, and not just the privileged few. It failed to alleviate many of the issues facing lone parents and only offered a slight increase to young jobseekers. It also failed to address the anomaly in calculating the contributory pension which disadvantages women in particular who spent time out of the workforce caring for children or elderly relatives.
“There is much work still do be done. We have a long road ahead of us towards achieving a fairer, more equitable society.”
Senator Catherine Ardagh raises concern that Budget 2017 will not improve pupil-teacher ratios
Fianna Fáil Social Protection Seanad Spokesperson, Senator Catherine Ardagh has said that being in work does not always equate to increasing incomes for loneparents.
Commenting this week Senator Ardagh said, “The Minister needs to understand that while more lone parents are now in paid employment, it does not necessarily mean that their family incomes have increased or even remained the same. They need their employment to pay them a decent salary to incentivise a return to work.
“The reforms implemented by the last Government resulted in a significant reduction of payments to many lone parent headed families. These reforms have now placed thousands of lone parents into a welfare trap, and reduced the options available to them in the future.
“While some lone parents were able to increase their hours of employment, many are now taking home less money as they have lost the weekly Lone Parent Allowance, and the secondary benefits that come with that payment,” said Senator Ardagh.
“The vast majority of lone parents I have met in my constituency are now working but they aren’t earning enough to meet their family’s needs. They are now reliant on another welfare payment to put food on the table.
“Moving them off the Lone Parent Allowance and onto FIS is not effectively addressing the real issue at hand, and does not always result in increasing family incomes.”
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