A DEIS school in Dublin is set to lose one of its teachers next year because it is three students short of the required quota.
St Malachy’s Mixed National School in Finglas South has 138 students enrolled for next year but needs 141 to keep all its teachers.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Principal Eoin Daly said the school had hoped a pause might be put on the quota this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He noted that over 30% of the children in the school have special educational needs.
“I know the department have to have their numbers and have to have certain guidelines but this was one year I think we could have put a pause on it – and it is only a small number of schools,” he said.
“Particularly schools in our situation where we are in one of the most disadvantaged areas in the whole country.
“For instance, in Finglas South 45% are single-parent households. Single parents do a fantastic job but there are two parents in my household and we found it extremely difficult during lockdown, so you can imagine, in a single-parent household, they have done amazing work to make sure that they’ve come back to the school.”
Mr Daly said the school is now going to have to make four classes go into three.
“We are mixing children who have been together with each other since junior infants and we are trying to get them to form new relationships, including in sixth class,” he said.
“In the time now where everyone is telling us that the children need consistency, we are now going to be inconsistent with them, that is what we feel.
“It is just going to put extra pressure on an already strained situation within the school.”
He said the school would have tried to recruit extra students under normal circumstances – but decided against it due to the pandemic.
“We would have put it out on social media saying that we have available spaces in the school,” he said. “We would have done so in the last term of last year knowing we were coming up short so to speak – but we didn’t have that opportunity this year due to COVID.
“We didn’t want children having to transition into the school. Coming from different pods, different schools and parents weren’t actively seeking in that manner like they would in previous years.
“So, we felt there might be a pause put on it for the small number of schools it would affect. Given our school and given the more extreme circumstances in our school we thought maybe a pause might be put on the situation.”
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