Jump in numbers of pupils in 'supersize' primary classes

There has been an increase in the number of primary pupils in "supersize" classes of 30 or more.

According to the Department of Education, more than 124,000 pupils are now in classes of over 30, up from 121,000 last year and 112,000 in 2012.

Ireland still has the largest class sizes in Western Europe - with some primary school classes totalling 35 pupils.

Figures from the Department of Education show that classes in the Dublin commuter belt are the largest in the country.

Dun Laoghaire Rathdown has the highest at nearly 27 students per teacher followed by Meath and Fingal at 26.

The Irish Primary Principals' Network said large class sizes impeded the ability of teachers to cater to individual children's learning abilities.

Meanwhile, the pupil-teacher ratio at second level has remained static at nearly 14 students per teacher.

ASTI General Secretary Pat King said the statistics for second level were welcome, but added the rising numbers at primary level would increase demand down the line.

"This is predicted to continue for 10-15 years," he said. "It's essential now that the Department of Education and schools prepare for this influx of all these extra students.

"It's a great news story in one sense, but it's a huge challenge for the country in another."

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