The Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA) congratulates Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn on his readiness to reconsider recent budget decisions in relation to cuts to resources for schools in disadvantaged areas. IVEA General Secretary Michael Moriarty states:
This is extremely welcome news, particularly in light of today's reports from the Inspectorate and the Educational Research Centre (ERC) which demonstrate that the additional teaching and other resources
made available to DEIS schools are improving literacy, numeracy and school attendance.
It is refreshing to see a Minister responding positively to evidence-based arguments demonstrating that particular budget cuts would have unintended consequences.
However, it is not just in relation to primary schools that the budget cuts were unwise. The decision to remove the ex-quota entitlement of second level schools to a guidance counsellor and the withdrawal
of legacy posts from some of our most disadvantaged schools will have serious effects on all schools but, most significantly, they will inevitably hit the most vulnerable students most severely - those students with neither the personal nor family capacity to seek out guidance either within the school or elsewhere. The withdrawal of the legacy post has the effect of further seriously undermining the capacity of small and disadvantage schools to meet the curricular needs of their students.
While we fully realise that the impact of these cuts was not fully appreciated by the Minister at the time they were announced, we now ask the Minister to reconsider them in the light of the evidence. In making this plea, it is appreciated that the Minister has to work within a finite budget; but there must be ways other ways of making the necessary savings without further disadvantaging those who are already seriously disadvantaged.