104. Increase resources for EAL

Back in the day, if you came to Ireland as a primary school pupil without English as a first language, you would likely have received some language support. In 2007, schools were allocated extra teachers on the following basis: 

Number of pupils


Number of pupils


Number of pupils


14 to 27


42 to 64


91 to 120


28 to 41


65 to 90


121 or more


I believe if you were a school with a lot more than the 121, there was scope for extra teachers.​ This is where the story should have ended and this article wouldn’t be needed.

Along came the recession, and as we know, the government had to make cuts to everything. (When I say everything, I mean all vulnerable groups) Therefore, the visiting Traveller Teacher was cut. SEN was cut by 15%, and nearly 25%. NEPS was cut. I could go on but, yes, you’ve guessed it, EAL was cut. 

Usually the government would go to the trouble of trying to spin this cut into a positive story but they didn’t even bother. Circular 15/2009 simply stated that a school would now need the following for EAL support, and only for up to 2 years.

  • 14 to 30 pupils with EAL: 1 post
  • 31 to 90 pupils (2 posts )
  •  91-120 pupils (3 posts)
  • 121+ pupils (4 posts)

The above wasn’t even that simple. There were all sorts of calculations to be made based on the number of years of support a child would get to a maximum of 2 years.

OK, some might say, everything was cut during the recession. However, we are long over the recession now and these cuts have still not been reversed. It’s time to get the original supports back in place.

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