New data shows which counties have highest and lowest teacher to student classroom ratios

New data shows which counties have highest and lowest teacher to student classroom ratios

Successive governments have sought to reduce the numbers of children per teacher but progress has been sluggish. Picture: Danny Lawson/PA

The commuter counties around Dublin have the largest primary level classrooms in the country while Mayo has the smallest, but they are still above European averages.

According to data published by Education Minister Norma Foley, the counties of Kildare, Meath, Louth, and Wicklow have the most amount of children per teacher in primary school classrooms in the country.

The average class size in Irish primary schools is 24 per class, compared to the EU average of 20 pupils per class and an OECD average of 21 pupils.

Kildare class sizes are the largest with an average of 24.7 pupils per teacher with Meath just slightly better on 24.6 pupils per teacher.

At 24.2 pupils per teacher, Louth is the next highest with Wicklow just marginally better on 24.1 pupils per teacher.

Thirty pupils per teacher in Dublin

Dublin, the most populated city in the country has an average 24 pupils per teacher but the reality is that in many schools, there are still over 30 pupils being catered for by just one teacher.

Mayo is the best performer in the country with 20.9 pupils per teacher at primary school level, however, this number is still above the EU average and just within the limits of the OECD average.

In Munster, Cork has 23.1 children per teacher on average; Clare has 22.2 children per teacher on average; Kerry has 22 children per teacher on average; Limerick has 23.1; Tipperary has 22.1, and Waterford has 23.4 per teacher.

Since the financial crash when resources dictated that class sizes had to increase, successive governments have sought to reduce the numbers of children per teacher but progress has been sluggish.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) has described as a “disgrace” that average class size in Irish primary schools remains at 25 compared to the EU average of 20 pupils per class as seen in countries such as Germany and Spain. 

“It is a source of disgrace that Ireland languishes at the bottom of the EU class size table,” the INTO said.

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