3 city primaries have classes of over 35

THREE Londonderry primary schools - Ebrington, Holy Child and Nazareth House - have classes with more than 35 pupils despite the law stipulating that younger children - P1 to P4 - should be sheltered from large classes.

Six schools across the Western Trust have been named by the Education Minister John O’Dowd as having classes of 35 or more.

They were: Ebrington Controlled Primary School, Holy Child Primary School and Nazareth House Primary School in Londonderry; Strabane Controlled Primary School in Strabane; and Jones Memorial Primary School and St Mary’s Primary School in Enniskillen.

Mr O’Dowd stated: “Reflecting the research that points to the quality of teaching and learning being a much more important influencer of outcomes than class size, the Department does not set restrictions on class sizes at Key Stage 2 and delegates such decisions to schools which are best placed to identify the most effective structures for teaching and learning to meet their own needs.

“While most classes at Key Stage 2 will be at or below 30, there are some primary schools recorded with classes of more than 35, including composite classes.”

He then listed the schools above as those with classes of over 35 pupils.

The Sentinel previously revealed that over two dozen primary schools across Londonderry, Limavady and Strabane had class sizes of more than 30 pupils.

The schools were: Ballykelly Primary School; Broadbridge Primary School; Drumachose Primary School; Drumahoe Primary School; Drumrane Primary School; Eglinton Primary School; Glendermott Primary School; Good Shepherd Primary School and Nursery School; Hollybush Primary School; Holy Child Primary School; Lisnagelvin Primary School; Londonderry Model Primary School; Longtower Primary School; Nazareth House Primary School; Oakgrove Integrated Primary School; Rosemount Primary School; Sacred Heart Primary School; Sion Mills Primary School; St Anne’s Primary School; St Canice’s Primary School; St Colmcille’s Primary School; St Eugene’s Primary School; St Mary’s Girls’ Primary School; St Mary’s Primary School, Ballymagorry; St Mary’s Primary School, Claudy; St Patrick’s Primary School, Castlederg; Strabane Controlled Primary School.

Legislation stipulates that classes for Years 1-4, should be kept at 30 or fewer. Approval for a class size in excess of 30 pupils must be approved by the relevant Education and Library Board (ELB) which administer this policy.