Sinn Féin European candidate, Cllr Toireasa Ferris, was in Waterford last Friday to publish a survey conducted by local councillors on the effects of the budget cuts on schools in the city and county.
The results of the study by Cllrs David Cullinane, Joe Kelly and Brendan Mansfield show that many class sizes in the area will rise to over 31 pupils. Nearly a quarter of all school-going children will remain in ‘super-sized’ classes of 30-plus with 6 out of 19 schools losing existing teachers. A further 6 out of 19 will lose language-support teachers as the Government proposes to cap these at only two per school. In addition, 10 schools in Waterford who applied for capital funding will face an uncertain future because of the proposed reductions to the school buildings budget.
Cllr Ferris said: “The survey is a harsh indictment of a government which chooses to make the weak and vulnerable pay the price of the bad political decisions made in their present and previous term in office… the choices made by this government have been to increase class sizes, decrease opportunities for widening children’s education, and maintain schools in unsuitable and frequently appalling accommodation.”
Rather than backing “buccaneer bankers” and developers, she wants to see an emergency school-building programme to both improve conditions for children and provide much-needed construction employment.