first_imgCATHOLIC and Protestant church leaders have joined forces to condemn cutbacks which will close small schools.In a joint statement issued today the Protestant and Catholic school management associations in the Diocese of Raphoe, Father John Joe Duffy from Arranmore and Rev John Deane from the Church of Ireland in Ardara, warned of “havoc” caused by the cuts.They say the budget will cause particular damage in Co Donegal with 101 schools out of 175 hit with fewer teachers. As a result this, they say, will leave schools worse off now than in the 1990s.Some schools will be forced to close, hitting Protestant schools in particular.You can read the entire joint statement below:Issued by CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS IN  DIOCESE OF RAPHOE “Budget 2012 will inflict serious damage and wreak havoc particularly on small schools throughout Ireland. This blunt approach by Minister Quinn, imposingcutbacks, will diminish resources in our schools leading to larger classsizes, less resources and in some cases closure of small schools.The budget has failed to protect the most vulnerable, and those most in needof education and support, with cutbacks in the Deis programme, learningsupport and special needs.What is further disappointing regarding Budget 2012, is the manner in whichmany of these cuts were announced by the government on budget day andsubsequently by the Minister. Many schools and communities only realised thesheer extent and gravity of the budget cuts made by Minister Quinn in thedays following the budget, such as the changes in the staffing schedules forsmall schools with less than 86 pupils. This will see such schools loseteachers from this coming school year 2012/13, and onwards.  The measures inthe new government policy will see schools with less than 20 pupils beingforced to close or amalgamate due to loss of the second teacher.  Theincreased pupil/teacher ratio is a retrospective change to 31 September2011. The largest proportion of schools in Co. Donegal will be affected bythese measures. Based on enrolements figures for 31 September, 2010, primary schools in Co. Donegal 101 out of 175 primary schools will be affected by the increase in pupil/teacher ratio numbers.  Many of our schools are small schools located in dispersed and isolated rural areas. This has been seriously frustrating, has created uncertainty for Principals, teachers and Boards of Management with regard toschool planning for the 2012/2013 school year. The Department needs to helpPrincipals and teachers and not hinder them with cuts and uncertainty.Instead let them continue with what they do best, educating our children.This means that we will be worse off than we were in the 1990’s, which willmean the closure of many small schools. These changes in pupil/teacher ratiomeans that it will become  virtually impossible for many small schools tofunction due to staffing cuts and these draconian austerity measures willseriously undermine the Irish education system.While the budgetary measures of 2012, will affect all schools in a negativeway, it will particularly and severely impact negatively on small schoolsand Protestant schools, whose populations are small and sparsely locatedthroughout the country. Protestant schools in many instances serve their ownsmall rural catchments and are not close to any other Protestant school. Theclosure of these schools would be unacceptable to all in our communitieswhere very young children would have to travel such long distances to availof their schools. This is true for a majority of small schools, bothCatholic and Protestant but in particular for Protestant schools. There hasbeing a total lack of thought and consideration towards all children in thisregard from the Minister, this government and the Department of Education. 27 out of 31 Protestant schools in Co. Donegal, will be severely and adveresley affected by the budget measures. Since the foundation of the Irish National School System in 1831, Irishparents have being afforded the choice of having their children educatedwithin a denominational education system. The provision of such a choice andthe support for these schools has being greatly valued by the Protestant andCatholic communities at large.Closure and amalgamation of Protestant schools will, in practice, result inmany parents being denied their rights to send their children to the nearestschool under Protestant management. That is something which we in Catholicschool management find most objectionable. The rights of our neighbours andour dear friends, members of Protestant parishes must be respected andupheld.The closure of any school is the death knell to its community. The Gaeltacht and other non-gaeltacht rural areas will be annihilated by the education cuts to small schools. Schools traditionally are the focal point of a community and the intricate fabric of society.The essential value and the contribution small schools make cannot bemeasured in monetary terms. The value of small schools to the education andwelfare of children in itself cannot be subject to monetary value. In manycases the closures which will result as a consequence of the Minister’sdecision regarding small schools on a cost analysis benefit will be a veryminimal saving to the Exchequer and the Department. The closure of some schools will result in higher transport costs forparents. Changes have been made to eligibility for school transport andschool transport charges have increased, both of which will cause hardshipfor families. Closure will lead to increased administration costs, increasedcapital costs potentially in the school which children will be transferredto, and in some cases new schools will be needed. Closure of small ruralschools will net the Department very little in staff savings as they willhave to be redeployed. It will likely lead to larger costs, certainly largercosts for parents.Minister Ruairi Quinn seems convinced that he can transform the Irisheducation system through austerity. This will only lead to the furthereroding of the standards in education and the abilities of our futuregenerations to attain the standards of education that Ireland so badlyneeds. The Irish people together must shout STOP to prevent this disastrousoutcome.Never has it been  more important to invest in education, to investin our children and in our future. It was through education that the Irishbecame great, not alone in this country but also globally recognised. Tosavage that education system is to destroy our way out of this economicdisaster that was not of our childrens making. These savage cuts willcurtail and limit the potential of future generations. Now is the moment andtime for all political parties and for all organisations to stand up for theeducation and future of our children, which is the future of our country.This ill concieved and poorly thought out policy of discrimation against small schools, minority schools and the disadvantaged has to be changed.”LEAVE YOUR COMMENT BELOW© 2011, all Rights ReservedThe copying, republication or redistribution of Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.Follow us on us on CHURCH LEADERS UNITE TO CONDEMN CUTS TO SCHOOLS was last modified: February 8th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT PRIMARY SCHOOL MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATIONS IN DIOCESE OF RAPHOEstatement in fulllast_img

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