Expert group recommends that 1,200 new teachers should be employed to reduce class sizes.

At St Paul's CBS Brunswick Street in Dublin, Jim Carberry teaches geography to a class of 28 first years. He says that the main drawback with large class numbers is the lack of time teachers can spend with weaker students.

The classes are too big to get around to all of them.

A report of the expert group to the Minister for Education and Science titled 'The Allocation of Teachers to Second Level Schools' recommends a pupil teacher ratio of 15 to one for the first 150 pupils in the school. This would also serve to improve the number of subject options available in smaller schools. Teacher unions say that this ratio should be standard for all classes.

Catherine Fitzpatrick President of the Association of Secondary Teachers in Ireland (ASTI) says that schools currently operate with a pupil teacher ratio of 18 to one and that class sizes in schools are unacceptably high.

There are 30 plus students in core subjects.

A more radical proposal is to redeploy teachers between schools where they are needed. Dr. Seamus McGuinness of Trinity College believes that a cross-sectoral scheme of redeployment will be required to maximise the number of teachers within the education system.

The Minister for Education Dr Michael Woods has said that he will employ 400 new teachers to improve class sizes and is considering other recommendations from the report.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 January 2002. The reporter is Annette O'Donnell.