Smaller Catholic schools threatened by budget

CPSMA welcomes decision not to increase the pupil-teacher ratio

Matteo Ciofi

Catholic primary school managers have welcomed the Government’s decision not to increase the pupil-teacher ratio. However, the Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA) has also warned that the Government’s current approach threatens the viability of small rural schools.

After the publication of Budget 2014 by Minister Michael Noonan, the organisation welcomed the maintenance of the pupil teacher ratio at 28:1. However, Fr Tom Deenihan, general secretary of the CPSMA said he was disappointed that “the phased increase in pupil thresholds in Budget 2012 continues to impact negatively on the 1, 2, 3, and 4 teacher schools (schools with less than 86 pupils) compromising the viability of smaller schools”.

He also underlined the fact that despite the capital investment, only a small part of this will be used for school buildings. He called on the Department of Education and Skills to restore Minor Works grants for schools.

The CPSMA has also welcomed the establishment of book rental schemes and called on Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to provide additional funding to schools that have already established such schemes without the benefit of a set-up grant.

The CPSMA also called for the roll-out of high-speed broadband saying it should be extended to all primary schools in the State.