EDUCATION cuts are affecting student behaviour, attendance and exam results, second-level school managers have warned.
Schools are at breaking point after five years of relentless cuts and students are losing out, said the Joint Managerial Body (JMB), representing managers in about 380 secondary schools.
The JMB is one of a number of education bodies piling pressure on the Government to prioritise education in the forthcoming Budget, where savings of between €44m and €100m are being sought from Education Minister Ruairi Quinn.
The Church of Ireland Board of Education said there is no scope for any reduction in the annual state spend on education, and that the current level of €8bn is the “absolute minimum required”.
In its pre-budget submission, the board argues that increasing class sizes or cutting funding to schools is short-sighted and “focused on the balance sheet rather than the child in the classroom and the furthering of teaching and learning”.
The JMB’s submission agrees that “savings must no longer be found from sources which disproportionately affect frontline services to students”.
In particular, JMB general secretary Ferdia Kelly said yesterday, “the pupil-teacher ratio could no longer be seen by Government as a potential target for achieving savings.”
JMB president Fr Paul Connell said the grant to schools had been cut by 11pc, and they were forced to find 30pc funding locally by fundraising or through voluntary contributions from parents.