Children across Ireland are set to benefit from the lowest pupil teacher ratio ever, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Member of the Education Committee, Sligo-Leitrim TD Tony McLoughlin, said Budget 2018 will also ensure further supports for children who need them most.
Deputy McLoughlin said: “I am delighted to announce that Budget 2018 delivers almost 1,300 additional teaching posts in schools in 2018, and as part of this the Pupil Teacher Ratio at primary level will be reduced to 26 to 1.
“This is the lowest level it has ever been, and will help children in communities all around the country get the best educational outcomes possible, ensuring a brighter future for young families across Ireland.
“An estimated €46 million is being provided to meet the growing population in our communities, supporting the reduction in primary pupil teacher ratio and enhanced career guidance counsellor provision for our second level students.
“Fine Gael is also committed to ensuring that children with special educational needs are given the opportunity to live independent lives and 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, ensuring they have a fair chance and the best opportunities.”
Deputy McLoughlin 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.”
“Separately, the Minister for Education will also announce in the coming weeks details of an additional €200 million PPP investment in the sector that will support regional development.
“Building on the significant funding in Higher Education provided last year, the increased investment announced today will help improve our competitive advantage, provide for our ongoing economic success and mitigate the risks and uncertainty of Brexit.
“In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education and Skills will increase by €554 million to over €10 billion in 2018, a 5.8% increase on last year’s budget allocation.”