ASTI Policy for Schools

Class Sizes

In accordance with ASTI policy on class size the following are the maximum class sizes which should be permitted in schools:

Home Economics20
Art24
Agricultural Science24
Construction Studies24
Engineering24
Leaving Cert Applied24
Leaving Cert Vocational Programme24
Materials Technology (wood)24
Metalwork24
Music24
Science24
Technical Drawing24
Technical Graphics24
Technology24
Transition Year Programme24
All other classes30

This directive will help to:

  • foster good teaching practice
  • encourage positive classroom relationships
  • assist school discipline
  • enhance standards of education
  • retain teaching positions

It should be noted that the Department of Education and Science has no recommended class sizes and there are no legal liabilities on a teacher in relation to this matter. Such liabilities are a matter for the employer who has to ensure that pupils are given an adequate duty of care.

If a school is experiencing a difficulty with regard to the class size directive the School Steward should raise the matter with the Principal and seek a resolution.

Click here to view ASTI Campaign on Class size

Health & Safety

Every teacher has a right to work in an environment that is both Healthy and Safe. The ASTI is seeking to ensure that school employers and employees alike accept responsibility for safety in schools.

Your school should have ...

  • a Safety Statement
  • a Safety Representative
  • and Regular Safety Drills


Safety Statement

It is a legal requirement that the management of each workplace produces a Safety Statement.
Has your school got an adequate Safety Statement?
If not, the staff should bring this requirement to the immediate attention of the Board of Management.

Safety Representative

Each school staff should elect a Safety Representative to act on their behalf in matters of Health and Safety.
Every staff group should by Monday, 24 October elect a Safety Representative.

Training

The ASTI provides regional Health and Safety training for Safety Representaives. The ASTI also provides each Safety Representative with a Health and Safety Handbook setting out their role/duties/guidelines and relevant information.

Consultation

It is a legal requirement that employers consult with their employees on matters of Health and Safety.
ASTI members should insist that Health and Safety is discussed at staff meetings on a regular basis and that Health and Safety procedures are reviewed at least once a year.

Drills

Evacuation and Emergency Drills save lives.
ASTI members should insist that drills are held in 100% of schools on a regular basis.

Find out more in the Health and Safety in schools section

Grinds Schools

The ASTI does not represent grinds schools for the following reasons: 

  • Grinds schools are only available to those who can afford to pay their fees.
  • Grinds schools focus on exam techniques and the cramming of information, rather than on a holistic education which values the whole person.
  • Grinds schools set up narrow, non-educational goals for students and by so doing may make the broader educational task of the ordinary school impossible to achieve.
  • Grinds schools offer 'crash courses' which merely repeat what is offered in ordinary schools.
  • Grind schools promote a false impression that pupils need to attend a grinds school in order to achieve their potential. There is no evidence for this.

League Tables

The ASTI is opposed to the publication of school league tables of Department of Education and Science examination results. League tables do not tell us anything about the performance of schools and are not a valid measure of school effectiveness.

The ASTI believes that such selective and simplistic information puts schools under pressure to jettison those aspects of education provision which do not contribute to an improvement in a position on the league table, and thus there is a danger that education will tend towards the easily measured with the consequent impoverishment of education and neglect of the pastoral, social, caring, cultural and physical dimension.
University Entry Tables
In recent times certain newspapers have published university entry tables for a select number of third level institutions. This narrow focus is damaging not only to hundreds and thousands of students who work hard to reach their potential but also to the education system and Irish society as a whole. 

Leagues tables of examination results or enrolments to particular universities do not take into account the pupil intake of the school. This means they ignore factors such as the education attainment of pupils on entry, the proportion of pupils with special educational needs, or the socio-economic backgrounds of pupils. Schools which directly or indirectly operate selection mechanisms at entry will do better in league tables whilst schools with no selective policies and a wide student cohort may appear under this blunt process as under performing. 

The core objective of education is to help every student develop as an individual. The publication of selective information such as league tables and college entry tables violates the principle of treating all students equally in that one aspect of a person’s ability or talents is prioritised above all others. There is therefore a growing danger that schools will prioritise the work that contributes to examination results at the expense of working with students whose strengths lies elsewhere.