Education : Malcolm Noonan

By: Malcolm Noonan  05/12/2011

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Proposals put forward by Fine Gael to address the increase in class sizes in Primary Schools as proposed in November’s budget have received support from Kilkenny Green Party Councillor, Malcolm Noonan. Councillor Noonan said that the proposals are worth considering by Government and could prevent the overcrowding situation in many primary schools from getting worse. He also welcomed the non partisan approach taken by their frontbench spokesperson on Education, Brian Hayes TD in putting the proposals to Minister for Education and Science, Batt O Keeffe.

Cllr Noonan agrees with the contention that the decision to increase the general staffing schedule at primary school from 27 pupils per teacher to 28 will lead to a loss of teachers in some schools and further disadvantage children with special educational needs.

Deputy Hayes proposals include;

• no school should lose a teacher if they are one child under the schedule

• where eight teacher schools lose a teacher under the schedule, thereby merging two years into one year, some consideration should be given for allowing schools to retain eight teachers
• a more flexible approach to be taken in determining appeals brought by schools on teacher numbers
• where a school has 80 or more newcomer pupils, the cap on two language support teachers should be lifted to allow the allocation of a third language support teacher.

‘This is the type of politics people in this country are crying out for right now’ stated Cllr Noonan, ‘from talking to people over the past number of months since the recession hit, I feel that we need an end to the political point scoring and back biting and for a cross party approach to be adopted to this and so many of the other challenges facing our society as the economic crisis deepens.

‘Also we must protect the most vulnerable in our community from the worst effects of the recession. There should be no threat to the quality of our primary education and I feel that the Minister for Education should seriously consider Deputy Hayes proposals and also accept the gesture of support from Deputy Hayes if the Minister were to implement them. It could go a long way towards addressing the very real concern among teachers and parents about the future wellbeing of our children’.

Speaking following the Dail Debate on Education cuts yesterday, Green Party Councillor Malcolm Noonan has spoken of his outrage at the refusal of Education Minister, Batt O Keefe to reconsider the class size issue and other unfair measures delivered in the 2009 budget. He also expressed his disappointment that his own party is not taking a stronger stand on the issue at cabinet level.

‘Ireland now has the second highest primary class sizes in the OECD Countries and has seen overall spending on education as a percentage of GDP fall to well below the European average during the boom years. Primary education is already chronically under funded and these cuts will further disadvantage children and place increased pressure on school resources which are already at breaking point’, stated the Green Party Councillor.

Councillor Noonan spoke at a Green Party meeting last week about the education cuts and pointed out to Party Leader, John Gormley and other party members that any budgetary measures that directly affect children or marginalised groups are unacceptable.

‘I am disappointed that we have not exercised more leverage to have these measures reversed. It could be done within the framework of a supplementary budget in the new year and many of the proposals made by Deputy Paul Gogarty could achieve the same savings to the department without affecting vulnerable groups’, he said.

‘I also do not agree with the Education Minister’s assertion that teachers and parents are scaremongering, in fact I feel that the effects are being played down by Government. I find it very difficult to accept that a party such as ours that has put equal access to education as a central plank of our manifesto can stand over these cuts. While it is difficult to reconcile this with the positive change our Ministers are making in their respective Departments, I will continue to voice my dissatisfaction with the savagery of these cuts and their effects on the future of our children and this country’, concluded Cllr Noonan.

Other products and services from Malcolm Noonan


Community Development : Malcolm Noonan

While the short term construction jobs would have been most welcome, it is unlikely in the current climate that all of the development would have proceeded and I would now hope that that the project proposers will go back to the drawing board with a scaled down plan for the site that is more in keeping with the future needs of the city’ he said.


Environment : Malcolm Noonan

The possibilites around its development and re connection with the civic quarter of the Tholsel are endless, a museum, wildlife garden, community centre, but most of all we can consolidate this beautiful part of the city for locals and visitors to enjoy, a lovely Christmas present.


Enterprise and Employment : Malcolm Noonan

The Decision announced today by Diageo Ireland to cease brewing at St Francis Abbey Brewery after three hundred years of brewing on the famous site has shocked the people of Kilkenny. Kilkenny is still a predominantly agricultural county with a vibrant dairy sector and a growing number of specialist food producers,” said Cllr Noonan.