Meeting to be held on Leixlip school class sizes

Scoil San Carlos, Confey, Leixlip, which will experience class size increases this September. Photo John Barrett.
A parent campaigning against large class sizes in a Leixlip school has called a meeting of parents at Confey GAA on 29 August (8.00pm).

A parent campaigning against large class sizes in a Leixlip school has called a meeting of parents at Confey GAA on 29 August (8.00pm).

Aidan Jordan, a well known Leixlip driving instructor, has three children going to Scoil San Carlo in Confey, pictured below.

He and a group of parents spoke to three Kildare North TDs, Lawlor, Murphy and Stagg, at Dail Eireann on 17 July last.

The group is worried over increased large classes at the school this September after the schools open on 2 September.

Earlier this year, 214 parents signed a petition protesting at the problem after hearing about the cuts on 20 June.

The current senior infant class in Scoil San Carlo Junior will be changed from three classes of 22 to two very large classes of 32 children. Sixty three children will be affected by the loss of a teacher as the school attempts to meet Department of Education guidelines of an average of 28 per class.

The three current second year classes of 23 children in the junior school will be merged into two third year classes, each with 33 student, in the senior school. “It seems ridiculous that the school will have classrooms not being used for their intended purposes just to keep to the Department average of 28 students per teacher,” said Mr. Jordan.

A letter from the junior school principal, Bridie Divilly, in June said that based on enrollment for 29 September 2012, the teacher allocation has been reduced by one making it necessary “to put our present three senior infant classes into two first classes for 2013-14”. The senior school principal, Kevin McLaughlin, said three second classes in the junior school would become two classes in the senior school. Neither letters cited new class sizes.

Ms. Divilly told parents every effort would be made to keep friends together and the school would have the best interest of the children at heart.

The group is critical of the lack of a cap on the maximum class size. They argue that the normal class size in the European Union is under twenty students.

The group said that the Department’s large average class size does not seem to have a cap for the maximum size that a class size can be which is much more important. “The failure to regulare the maximum a class size can be means that 130 children will be forced into new classes of an average of 33 children.