Education Committee to examine parental costs, crowded classrooms, principal pressures as new term begins in Kildare

Back to school

Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Education Committee to examine parental costs, crowded classrooms, principal pressures as new term begins in Kildare

Parents, principals, teachers unions, management bodies and department officials will detail the many challenges facing school system in Kildare and around the country at a special two-day sitting of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills.

Over the course of today and Thursday, 18 organisations and Government departments will make presentations and answer Members’ questions on the pressures that face primary and secondary schools reopening nationwide.

The three-part discussion begin at 10 amtoday in Committee Room 3 of Leinster House and will resume at 9:30 am on Thursday.

The first section focuses on whether Ireland’s school-building programme meets demand and, if not, what can be done to improve planning and delivery, including the development and retention of green spaces for play.

Today’s second section explores the pressures that principals face as they manage overstretched school staffing and resources while, in many cases, they also conduct their own classes.

On Thursday, charities, parents associations and school management bodies will detail the rising private costs that parents must finance themselves as their children attend State-funded schools.

“With the arrival of a new school year comes the need to focus on improving the State’s provision of educational services. All parties agree we can and should do more as a society. This week the Committee will seek to identify solutions and areas for needed reform with help from a comprehensive array of witnesses,” said Kildare South TD Committee Chair Fiona O’Loughlin TD.

“The challenging circumstances that many parents, principals and school planning bodies face require our urgent understanding and assistance. Any shortfall in providing sufficient support to school facilities and staff ultimately denies schoolchildren the chance to achieve their full potential. Our hearings will serve to highlight these issues."

READ MORE: Building of Monasterevin school may begin earlier than expected