April 12, 2021

The battle of Brittas Bay: Wicklow school wins fight for sixth teacher

Brittas Bay National School has won its battle for to hand onto its sixth teacher after it was initially told they were going to lose one for the upcoming school year.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Health, Stephen Donnelly, said the decision to grant Scoil Mhuire Réalt Na Mara was badly needed after the school argued, they desperately needed a sixth teacher to help with social distancing.

The school has no gym hall, no resource rooms and small compact classrooms.

If a teacher is out sick, the first day of sick leave there is no sub cover allocated, if a teacher is absent due to family weddings, funerals, graduations or is uncertified sick, there is no substitute cover.

Without the additional teacher the school faced the prospect of 37 children being crammed into the already overcrowded classrooms.

 “I wrote to the Minister on behalf of the school pointing out just how vital a sixth teacher was in order to prevent overcrowding during the Covid crisis,” Deputy Donnelly said.

“Parents and staff at the school had written to me outlining why this decision was so important for the school to be able to function properly.

“This is a school which does not have a PE hall or any resource rooms so has a limited ability to reduce class numbers.

“Without a sixth teacher in place it would have been almost impossible for them to operate in a sustainable way.

“Both teachers and pupils are already dealing with an extraordinary level of stress and disruption.

“It would have made it almost impossible for the children to be able to settle back into school life if the school was short staffed.

He added: “It was absolutely vital they retained their sixth teacher which is why the eventual decision to allow it to happen was absolutely the right one”.

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