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Language support teachers vital for students

I WISH to register my anger and frustration at the Department of Education’s intention to reduce language support teachers by 250.

As a secondary teacher of English, I am aware how vital it is to provide this support at primary level to immigrant children, prior to their entering secondary school, where the even greater curricular challenges of the Junior Cert must be met. Without this help, many students will simply not be able to cope, and as a result, may become disillusioned, depressed and alienated.

General morale in the classroom will inevitably suffer and teachers, despite their best efforts, will find it increasingly difficult to do their job. I am disappointed that our new minister, who spoke so highly of the teaching profession at the Easter conferences, now sees fit to remove this safety net from under disadvantaged pupils. Also, due to lack of staffing, many schools have had to radically reduce subject choice at Leaving Cert. Reducing the number of language support teachers from an already ailing education system is not in the interests of our children, nor is victimising them an acceptable way to balance the budget. I call on the Government to reconsider these harmful cutbacks.

Frank Farrelly

Executive Officer of INOTE (Irish National Organisation of Teachers of English)



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