Kildare South TD Fiona O'Loughlin
More support is needed for the 33 teaching principals in Kildare, according to a local TD.
The Oireachtas Education and Skills committee met last week for a two-day summer school special to discuss challenges facing schools and facing families.
Kildare South TD Fiona O’Loughlin, chair of the committee, last week highlighted her concerns over growing pressures facing principals in Kildare.
“I am extremely concerned over the number of teaching principals in Kildare and across the country who are under severe pressure,” she said.
“In Kildare, there are currently 33 teaching principals working on day-to-day administration for the school while teaching a classroom full of students.
“Teaching principals work incredibly hard and the committee plan to put forward a proposal to the Minister for Education where one administration day will be allowed for teaching principals per week. The reason for this is so that a teacher can take the place of a principal while he or she attends to other matters in the school.
“It is of the utmost importance that the students are not impacted by the school having a teaching principal and so work can continue on the one day per week where another teacher will step in to ensure the best learning environment for our youths”.
“The committee will be raising this with the Minister in the coming weeks and I will be pushing for his attending on this matter,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.
Meanwhile the meeting also brought up the budget issues facing schools, as some principals are being forced to ask pupils to bring toilet rolls with them because their schools are under such financial pressure.
The claim was made at the Oireachtas education committee meeting last Thursday which heard that State funding is falling well short of the real cost of education at primary and second level.
Deputy O’Loughlin, herself a former teacher, said afterwards that she was aware of parents who were asked to provide essentials such as toilet roll on a regular basis.
She added that it is both unfair to parents and to schools who “don’t willingly put pressure on parents”.
The committee heard from school management bodies and education partners that Government underfunding had reached crisis point and there was “immense pressure” on parents to fill the financial gap through voluntary contributions.