Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has announced that Cork schools and students are set to benefit from the 2018 Education Budget which will enable the lowest pupil to teacher ratio ever. Furthermore, additional Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) will ensure extra supports for local children who need them most.
Senator Lombard said: “26:1 is the lowest pupil teacher ratio ever, and is a welcome initiative of the Education Budget announced earlier today. Cork students and teachers will benefit, ensuring better opportunities and a fairer chance for all children in classrooms across our communities.
“Fine Gael is also committed to ensuring that children with unique educational needs are given the opportunity to reach their full potential. The Government is investing over €1.7bn for special education needs in the coming year, which means that over 1,000 additional SNAs can be recruited in time for September 2018, bringing the total number to over 15,000 nationally.
“This will ensure extra support is available for children here in Cork who need it most.
“In 2018 we will also see 230 new teachers in special classes and special schools and 100 new Special Education teachers.
“A further €5.5 million will be allocated to provide support for a range of new policy measures including the foreign languages strategy, STEM education policy, digital learning strategy and the Government’s Creative Ireland initiative.
“Ensuring the wellbeing of students is a key priority of government. The equivalent of 100 additional guidance posts will be provided in September 2018, and some 10 new NEPS psychologists will also be hired in 2018.”
“Families with older children will welcome today’s funding announcement for the third level sector; my colleague, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure, Paschal Donohoe, allocated €310 million, distributed out to 2021, to address the infrastructure needs of the higher and further education sectors.
“I am delighted that we are responding to the increasing demographics and are providing an additional 2100 student places in higher education. The opportunity now exists for more students to avail of further education.”
Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, said: “This marks my second budget as Minister for Education and Skills. In that time I am pleased to be able to have increased our investment in education and training by over €1 billion.
“We are now spending more on education than ever before. This shows the strong priority that Fine Gael in Government has put on education, which is key to helping everyone to fulfil their potential. Nothing is more effective than education when it comes to breaking down cycles of disadvantage and achieving the republic of opportunity which we wish to create.”