Wednesday, July 29, 2020

By Suzanne Pender

 

LOCAL Sinn Féin TD Kathleen Funchion has backed a motion to reduce ‘unsafe’ school class sizes.

Deputy Funchion has backed plans to properly invest in our education system so that schools can meet the challenges of reopening fully and safely.

She has called on all TDs in the local area 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.

“Sinn Féin is 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,” she said.

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

“I welcome that the Department for Education has now finally published a roadmap. However, this was long overdue and I am concerned that the department’s delays leaves teachers and parents just weeks to organise,” said deputy Funchion.

“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 under-funding 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,” added deputy Funchion.

“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,” she insisted.

“I am calling on all TDs in this area 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,” she concluded.

 

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