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More Support Needed For Small Rural Schools

By February 26, 2016No Comments

Our schools are really at the heart of every rural community up and down the country. It is the most basic service that we need to protect and value. The fabric of many communities is based on the local school. In our small schools our children get much more than an education ,they get a pride of place in their local area and their local heritage.
Austerity has come down really hard on our small rural schools and I am fully aware of the pressure that is being put on parents, staff and boards of management to try and raise funds locally so that they can maintain these schools.
I believe that we must invest in the future of all our children so that we can prosper as a society and an economy. We need additional funding for IT resources and for updating computer hardware. Above all, children with special needs deserve our support and it is wrong that the most vulnerable have had to suffer cuts over the past number of years, these children should be the first to benefit from any upturn in the economy.
The “Minor Works Grant” is of critical importance to our schools and should become a permanent annual payment so that schools can budget for their futures. The “Summer Works Grant” should also be maintained as Boards of Management have been able to do valuable work under these grants over the years.
It will be a priority of mine to work for the restoration of enrolment numbers which were required for staffing levels in our small schools prior to austerity measures so that these schools can have reduced class sizes and so we can hold on to our small rural schools.