Doherty backs motion to reduce ‘unsafe’ school class sizes

'Donegal's TDs must row in behing us'

Doherty backs motion to reduce ‘unsafe’ school class sizes

Pearse Doherty TD

A Donegal TD has backed plans to properly invest in the education system, so schools will be able to meet the challenges of reopening fully and safely.

Sinn Féin TD, Pearse Doherty, has called on all TDs in Donegal to support the Sinn Féin motion
being debated in the Dáil this week which will ensure schools get the financial and
logistical support they need.

“Today Sinn Féin are publishing a motion to compel the Government to properly fund
our education system, so that schools will be able to meet the challenges of reopening
fully and safely.

“This includes beginning the important work of reducing our class sizes, which have
been far too high for too long and are now unsafe."

He added he welcomed that the Department for Education has now finally published
a road map. However, he said, this was long overdue and was concerned that the
department’s delays leaves teachers and parents just weeks to organise.

“We have a huge task ahead of us and this will be made harder without proper
investment for schools. We need proper investment, not just short term fixes to see us
through the next few weeks or months.

“While it is true that no-one could have predicted the scale and manner of the
Covid-19 pandemic, we also must acknowledge how failure to invest in our schools
has put them in a particularly vulnerable position which meant many were already
stretched close to breaking point.

“For decades, we have seen chronic underfunding of schools. This has brought us to a
position whereby we have some of the highest class sizes in Europe.

“It has also resulted in schools being understaffed and deprived of basic resources.

“While all of these things have been unfair for many years, due to the pandemic this is
now not only unfair but also unsafe as huge class sizes make it almost impossible to
follow public health guidelines such as social distancing," he said.

He added that he and Deputy Padraig MacLochlainn were calling on all TDs in
Donegal to back the motion when it comes to the Dáil for a vote on Thursday and
secure this commitment to reducing school classes to smaller, safer sizes.

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