Withdrawal of teachers disadvantaging rural schools

We write in relation to the withdrawal of teaching posts from 16 rural disadvantaged schools from Sep 2012.

Minister Quinn apologised for targeting disadvantaged schools earlier this year and announced a review of these cuts.

While urban disadvantaged schools were invited to participate in this review, we in rural disadvantaged schools were afforded no such opportunity.

There was simply a blanket cut made to all of our concessionary teachers.

The loss of these teachers at one of the most difficult times our economy has ever faced is going to add to the level of disadvantage that children in deprived rural communities already face.

Many of us work in communities ravaged by unemployment of up to 35%, with more of their population on the live register.

This is over twice the national average.

Many are single parent families — research indicates that these children are at risk of consistent poverty.

The concessionary teaching posts have enhanced the life chances of targeted children, resulted in improvements in literacy and numeracy standards.

They have and ensured that children at risk of early school leaving have made successful transition to second-level schools.

We urge the minister to consider the consequences of removing concessionary teachers — a retrograde step which may result in falling standards and a breakdown in the social cohesion within our communities.

At this time, with our country facing huge challenges, we need to harness the potential of all our children and maintain current education standards.

Hugh Lafferty, principal. Scoil Adhamhnain, Raphoe, Lifford, Co. Donegal; James McHugh, principal, SN An Chaiseal, Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal; Ann Marie Meehan, principal, SN Baoithin, St. Johnson, Lifford, Co. Donegal; Mairead Mhic Dhonnacha, principal, SN Mhic Dara, Carraroe, Co. Galway; Fionnuala Kirk, principal, St. Conleth’s NS, Derrinturn, Co. Kildare; Treasa Uí Mhuirithe, principal, SN Eachleime, Ballina, Co. Mayo; Gabriel Meehan, principal. An t-Ath Eamonn Ó Gallchoir, chairperson, BOM, Scoil Chartha Naofa, Kilcar, Co. Donegal; Mary Meaney, principal. Maureen Maloney, chairperson, BOM, Scoil Mhuire, Clifden, Co. Galway; Mary Harkin, principal, Rev.Peter Devlin, chairperson, BOM, Scoil Cholmcille, Malin, Lifford, Co. Donegal; Siobhan Ferry, principal, Fr. Charlie Byrne, chairperson, BOM, Scoil Cholmcille, Carrigart, Co. Donegal; Barbara Boyle, principal, Rev. Patrick Prendergast, chairperson, BOM, Scoil Mhuire, Glenties, Co. Donegal; Gabriel Keane, principal, Fr. Jim McCormack, chairperson, BOM, St. Joseph’s NS, Hacketstown, Co. Carlow; Anita Healy, principal, Maire O’Malley, chairperson, BOM, SN Ros Dumhach, Ballina, Co. Mayo; Shane O’Donnell, principal, Fr. Ronan chairperson, BOM, Glenealy 1 NS, Glenealy, Co. Wicklow; Miriam Cahill, principal, Fr. D. Nolan, chairperson, BOM, SN Naomh Iosaf, Rathnew, Co. Wicklow; Pat McDermot, principal, Mary Woolley, chairperson, BOM St. Ernan’s BNS, Rathew, Co. Wicklow.

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