Education is the great liberator. We have an ambitious plan for Education. In our worst recession we replaced prefabs, built new schools and hired more teachers and SNA’s, and made literacy and numeracy a national priority. There has been huge progress in our constituency but much remains to be done. Our commitment is that we will invest a further â‚¬1 billion into education – dependent on continued growth. Full details of our proposal are embedded at the end of this post.
Our proposals for the next Government are to:
- Deliver the smallest class sizes in the history of the State. This will mean more time for teachers with pupils. We want to reach an average class size of 20, and putting an end to any classes with over 30 pupils. We will improve the staffing of second-level schools, to provide guidance and counselling to all students, and to increase subject choice.
- End the use of prefabs in our schools. We already have a proven record on this. Every child should have the right to be safe and warm in school.
- Reduce school costs for parents by increasing funding by â‚¬60 per child, phase out parental contributions, more funding for book rental schemes and abolish all school transport charges by 2018 including free LEAP card travel to school for children.
- Make 21st century skills and subjects part of the education of every child. Our aim will be to keep Ireland in the top 5 countries in the OECD for reading, and to make sure we are in the top 10 countries for maths and science by 2020.Our Digital Strategy for Schools will see investment of â‚¬210m in broadband and technology. Every school will have access to technical support.
- Double the number of multi-denominational schools by 2021.
- Amend the Equal Status Act so that local children can access local schools.
- Create 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places over the next five years.
- Extend free part-time 3rd level education to those at work, and ensure that 100,000 places are available over the lifetime of the next Government.
What has been done in Dublin Bay South over the last five years:
- Dozens of new classrooms added to existing schools to meet increased number of pupils and replace prefabs.
- Delivered the new Shellybanks Educate Together for the Dublin 4 area. One of my key priorities will be to ensure a permanent site is secured int he next 12 months.
- Invested â‚¬1.2 million into the Docklands area through the Early Learning Initiative to improve literacy and numeracy in pre-school children through the Area-Based Childhood Programme.
- Building on a new school on Haddington Road underway.
- A new school building is in the pipeline for Griffith Barracks Multi Denominational National School.
- A new school building under for St. Marys, Belmont Ave.
- Following a successful campaign, a 1,000 pupil second level school will open in 2018.
At a National Level
- Increased funding for the school meals programme.
- 43% increase in the number of multi-denominational schools.
- Labour in government made literacy and numeracy a national cause, and delivered the first improvements to literacy and numeracy results for a generation.
- In last Budget provided funding to lower the pupil teacher ratio and continued to provide extra SNA’s and resource teachers.
- Put modern apprenticeships on the agenda as an alternative career path.