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.”