IPPN Response to Budget 2017 – A mixed schoolbag!

Following on from yesterday’s budget announcement, IPPN is very pleased that all one-teacher Island schools will now receive a second teacher with immediate effect. IPPN has, in recent times, advocated on behalf of one-teacher schools, the most marginalised among our members. IPPN presented a report to the DES in July, outlining the significant challenges facing these school leaders and requested action in relation to changes that are critical within these schools. We are delighted that these concerns were noted and are reflected in the budget. It is also positive that provision has been made for remaining one-teacher schools to apply, through the appeals process, for an additional teacher where there are 6 class groups or more in the school.
We welcome the provision for commencement of restoration of middle leadership posts as part of an agreed distributed leadership model.  This move recognises the key role school leaders have in promoting high quality teaching and learning. The moratorium on promoted posts, announced in 2009, has impacted significantly on the leadership and management capacity in every school, as well as the workload and wellbeing of school leaders. Principals need to have a functioning middle leadership team within the school. 

Many of our members, particularly in rural and more remote areas, have voiced their concern in relation to broadband provision and the impact this has in implementing the Digital Strategy for Schools. The question is, when will all primary schools in the country be on a par with their second-level counterparts in terms of broadband access?

Provision has been made within Budget 2017 to implement the new Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools which will be announced before the end of the year. This is set to include additional measures in areas like school leadership, teaching methods and clusters to improve the outcomes for students in these schools. IPPN awaits further information in relation to this process and the roll-out plans. 

In addition, IPPN will continue to draw attention to the following key issues for members:
  1. A minimum of one non-teaching day per week for Teaching Principals
  2. Class size - Ireland has the 2nd most over-crowded primary school classes in Europe at 25 per class vs an EU average of 20
  3. Staffing schedule in special schools, which has not been updated since 1993
  4. Inadequate funding for day-to-day running of schools.

We will continue to advocate on behalf of school leaders on these issues.

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