If you would like to submit a contribution to our Readers Blog section then follow this link. Be sure to include your full name, address and contact number otherwise your submission will not be considered for publication. We will contact you prior to publication.

Hard lesson for school visitor

NOW that newspapers bring out league tables on exam results and what are considered the ‘best’ second-level schools in the country, maybe they should accompany them with league tables of the physical condition of the schools in which staff and students alike are expected to perform.

I recently visited a friend who teaches in what would be considered a good school in Co Meath and was quite appalled by the working conditions for teachers there.

There were just two toilets, with no windows, for a large female staff and one had no light in it.

When I mentioned this to my friend she said the bulb blew constantly and they had to wait for maintenance people to come and change it as they were not allowed to do it themselves.

The staff room was primitive, to say the least, with nowhere to place belongings and no individual desks for the staff to correct copies, etc.

There were bags, boxes, books and copies everywhere, stuffed into every corner and every bit of space that could be found in the room.

Staff corrected copies while wolfing down lunch.

The only room they had to eat in was not much bigger than a classroom. The tables they ate at were large desks.

It was noisy, overcrowded, very stuffy and didn’t even have enough chairs, or even cups, for staff. Some were sharing seats while eating lunch. Classrooms were equally basic, with no shelving on the walls and just as stuffy even though there were no students in the class at the time.

When I commented on this, my friend told me that opening windows was discouraged by management to keep heating bills down.

Corridors were packed, with students sitting on their jackets on the floor or standing while eating. Not a chair or canteen in sight.

It’s not every day you get a chance really to see a school from the inside. Parents need to see what’s going on in their local schools and I now realise that seeing the few ‘standard’ rooms that are polished and done up for open days and nights tells you virtually nothing about a school.

This quick visit gave me an understanding why my own children, who loved school, were forever catching illnesses when at school and were in perfect health when off or on holiday.

As a result of this experience I can only conclude that the teachers’ unions must be either incredibly weak or do not have staff room conditions on their agenda at all.

Ann Stafford

Santa Maria

New Ireland Road

Rialto

Dublin 8


Lifestyle

Even in the drug-filled, debauched annals of the rock and roll memoir, Mark Lanegan's Sing Backwards And Weep stands out.Mark Lanegan: Drugs, Liam Gallagher and me

Donal Dineen was the man who first brought David Gray and many other emerging artists to our ears. He’s had a lower profile in recent years, but has returned with a new podcast, writes Eoghan O’SullivanDonal Dineen: Pushing the buttons on a new podcast

Is there are science to back up some of the folklore we have grown up with?Appliance of Science: If a cow sits down does that mean it will rain?

This time last year Whiddy Island in West Cork was bustling with people who had caught the ferry for the short trip from Bantry to ramble the island’s boreens as part of the Bantry Walking Festival. Not so this year.Islands of Ireland: Whiddy in the same boat

More From The Irish Examiner