Dáil Éireann - Volume 611 - 06 December, 2005
Written Answers. - Pupil-Teacher Ratio.
Ms Enright Ms Enright
429. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of children in class  sizes over 20, 25 and 30 and in class sizes over 30 in certain selected schools (details supplied); if the same information will be provided for those in infant classes; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37769/05]
Ms Hanafin Ms Hanafin
Ms Hanafin: The information requested by the  Deputy is set out in the following table. The data refer to the 2004-05 school year. Data are given separately for all classes and for classes including infants. The latter may include pupils in other standards where there are consecutive grade classes or multi-grade classes. Of those classes with 30 or more pupils, the average class size is 32.
The Deputy should be aware that significant improvements have been made in the pupil-teacher ratio and in average class size in recent years at primary level. The most recent figure available for average class size at primary level refers to the 2004-05 school year, when the average class size was 23.9, down from 26.6 in 1996-97. The pupil-teacher ratio at primary level which includes all the teachers, including learning support-resource teachers, has fallen from 22.2:1 in the 1996-97 school year to 17.1:1 in 2004-05.
As I indicated in the statement on the recently published Estimates, I have secured sufficient funding to provide even smaller classes in our primary schools in the next school year. The Minister for Finance has committed to a further reduction in class size in the following year.
The system for allocating teachers to primary schools is based on ensuring an overall maximum class of 29 in each school. Where some classes in a school have class sizes of greater than 29, it is generally because a decision has been taken at local level to use their teaching resources to have smaller numbers in other classes.
To ensure openness and transparency in the system an independent appeal board is now in place to decide on any appeals on mainstream staffing. The criteria under which an appeal can be made are set out in Department primary circular 19/02 which is also available on the Department’s website.
Dáil Éireann 611 Written Answers. Pupil-Teacher Ratio.