'They were asked not to bring schoolbags' - Children at Dublin school running out of space

The Department of Education say they are working to advance proposals

'They were asked not to bring schoolbags' - Children at Dublin school running out of space

Image via @newschambers on Twitter

Teachers have lashed out at Budget 2017 as a 'wasted opportunity' to tackle overcrowded classrooms.

The INTO says the plan for primary education is in tatters because the Government has failed to match ambition with resources.

Yesterday an additional €36m was announced for higher level education - and at primary and secondary level, there are plans to hire more than 2,400 teachers.

However there are concerns the new posts will be swallowed up instantly by the spike in numbers in Irish schools next year.

Numbers are set to increase by 12,000 next year alone. The pupil-teacher ratio here of 25-1 is already one of the highest in Europe.

While there is no increase in capitation grants - which means primary schools will still need to seek voluntary contributions.

Pat Kenny Show reporter Richard Chambers has visited one school which is in urgent need of investment.

Ballinteer Educate Together in Dublin is in temporary grounds at St Tiernan's Community College.

Meant to be housed there for a maximum of two years, it is still there five years later.

Principal Marie Gordon showed Newstalk around.

"If I open the filing cabinet I can't have someone in - I have to close the filing cabinet in order to meet with a parent," Ms Gordon said.

Things have gotten to the point where a disabled toilet is also being used as a storage space.

Ms Gordon explained what they are doing to try and improvise some space for resource teaching.

"We're pricing canopies, and pop-up tents and awnings at this moment in time to see if we can get one out in the smaller area out the back there," she said.

And some of the students have a certain name for their classroom.

A lot of volunteer work has gone it.

Parents made a path to access the school. They say they appreciate all the work of management and the teachers - but they feel abandoned by the Department of Education.

Parents Sinead O'Toole, Stella D'atri, Dudley Colley and Darina Mulligan say as difficult as it is now, the situation could soon be a lot worse.

"We have no classrooms left," one parent said.

"This year we've actually had to convert our amazing head office into a classroom, so that classroom is now 24 square metres for 24 children.

"The department standards are 80 square metres for a standard classroom."

Another parent added: "We got a note at the beginning of the year asking the kids not to even have proper schoolbags because there's nowhere to put them."

Chair of the board of management Robert Cochrane and Ms Gordon say they are no closer to getting the facilities which everyone agrees they badly need.

"A lot of the problem is to do with unexplained delays by the department," Mr Cochrane said.

"We have literally a greenfield site outside the door here - the only issue is we're almost landlocked here and we have to get an acceptable access to the site.

"That has been the main argument for the last...five years now."

In response to this report, the Department of Education says it has been "working with Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to advance proposals for appropriate access routes with a view to progressing a further planning application for the permanent building for Ballinteer Education Together National Scholl as soon as possible".