Now You See It…

If you’re anything like me, you love Derren Brown.  He’s a bit of a genius, illusionist, mentalist, clever and challenging.

He’s also a bit of a trickster.

He has one particular move I like, he gets the unsuspecting victim to willingly hand over his wallet.  Just like this:

Which brings me to this RTE headline yesterday.  On the face of it, things look great.  1,700 new teachers and SNAs (Special Needs Assistants) to be employed in Irish Schools.  All good, yes?

Well, as always, it’s a little more complicated.  While the headline does grab your attention, the details of the article take a lot of the shine away:

  • 10,000 new students entering primary level each year
  • 4,000 new students entering second level each year
  • The cost of college registration to increase.  Again.
  • The budget for new schools (needed for the extra numbers) is to be cut by €10,000,000
  • Funding for second level schools (Capitation, the grant per student in school) is being reduced again.  This time by 1%
  • Funding for third level colleges also to be reduced by 1%

That’s the new cuts.

There’s still no reverse on the reprehensible decision to remove guidance counsellors from secondary schools.  No decision to restore middle management in schools.

For years now the budget for education has been cut. The new posts in the headline don’t do anything to change the pupil/teacher ratio – it only maintains the current crazy level.  Schools have been forced to cut subjects, options, programmes and supports for students.

These are not cuts in education. They are attacks on education.

Minister Joan Burton was on Matt Cooper’s show a few weeks ago and said something like ‘Austerity is over’.

Austerity is not over.  Certainly not if you’re in education.  And just like Derren Brown, the government has managed to dip into the pocket of the education sector once more.

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