Eleven Galway schools to lose teacher
Eleven Galway national schools are to lose a teacher from this September as part of widespread cuts from the Department of Education.
A spokesperson for the department confirmed to the Galway Independent this week that eleven local schools would be downsized as a result of recent budget measures.
From September 2012, Scoil Mhuire Gan Small in Ballygar (81 pupils) and Ballymacward Central in Ballinasloe will be reduced to three-teacher schools, as will Scoil Mhuire in Toureen, Bealdangan (78 pupils) and SN Cill Conaill, Ballinasloe (82 pupils).
SN An Ard Mhor in Carna will have two teachers, as will SN Baile An Leasa in Dunmore and Scoil Naomh Iosef, Castlehackett, Belclare. All three schools currently have 49 pupils.
Meanwhile, Cloghan Hill NS in Tuam (12 pupils) and SN Cill Solain in Caltra (13 pupils) will be left with just one teacher following the impending cutbacks.
In addition to this, two Galway schools in the DEIS rural and disadvantaged category will also lose a teacher, with SN Mhic Dara in Carraroe and Scoil Mhuire in Clifden included in the Department’s hitlist.
In a statement to this paper, a spokesperson said that the existing staffing schedules act as a “disincentive for small schools to consider amalgamation”.
“The Government recognises that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities. They will continue to be a feature of our education landscape.
“However, this does not mean that small schools can stand still or never have their staffing levels changed to something that is more affordable and sustainable for these very difficult and challenging times. The teachers in small schools cannot be immune from the requirement that is being asked of all public servants to deliver our public services on a reduced level of resources.”
However, Principal of Cloghan Hill National School Iseult Mangan criticised the arbitrary manner in which the Department has compiled the list and said that it is deliberately targeting rural schools in an effort to force closures.
“I think the way they have gone about this is absolutely ridiculous. There was no proper study done to define what schools should be losing teachers; they are just putting down rural schools. We have got an awful lot of money to do up our building in the last two years and have great resources so for them to turn around and say they are going to essentially close down a school of this calibre when there are schools in the area in prefabs. It’s just ridiculous.
“Why are they giving money to rebuild other schools and downsizing the ones that are here? They talk about value for money but value for education is just as important.”
Ms Mangan added that the school was appealing the department’s decision, as the closure of schools such as Cloghan Hill NS would have a major impact on the local community.
“Certainly in our case, we are the only thing left. There is no shop, no post office left, no garda station etc. The department are saying that they won’t close schools but they will make it so difficult that schools will have no other option but to close.”