Kerry schools are set to benefit from the lowest pupil teacher ratio ever, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Leas Chathaoirleach Senator Coghlan also said additional SNAs will ensure extra supports for local children who need them most.
Senator Coghlan said: “I am delighted to announce that children here in Kerry will benefit from the lowest pupil teacher ratio ever of 26:1, ensuring better opportunities and a fairer chance for all children in classrooms across our local community.
“Fine Gael is also committed to ensuring that children with special 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. This means that over 1,000 additional Special Needs Assistants can be recruited in time for September 2018, bringing the total number of SNAs to over 15,000.
“This will ensure extra support for children who need it most here in Kerry, ensuring they have a fair chance and the best opportunities.
“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. Some 10 new NEPS psychologists will also be hired in 2018.”
Senator Coghlan said families with older children will also welcome the funding announced for the third level sector.
He said: “My colleague, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, also announced an additional €310 million has been allocated out to 2021 to address the infrastructure needs of the higher and further education sectors.
“The new investment will also support the development of Technological Universities across the country. It is the Department of Education’s intention to have this Bill passed by Christmas.
“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, said: “This marks my second budget as Minister for Education and Skills. In that time I am pleased to be able to have had 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 the government has put on education, which is key to helping everyone to fulfil their potential. Nothing is more effective at breaking down cycles of disadvantage and achieving the republic of opportunity which we wish to create.”