Primary schools in Ireland have some of the largest class sizes in Europe, according to new figures revealed this week.
The official Department of Education statistics, released by the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO), show that 85 per cent of children at this level are taught in lessons of 20 or more, while 20 per cent of classes have at least 30 students.
INTO described the figures as a "wake-up call" for parents, as they show that Ireland's classrooms are the second most overcrowded in Europe.
General secretary of the group Sheila Nunan commented: "When class numbers are reasonable modern teaching methods are possible and there is more teacher time for children. If we want to improve education outcomes for children the last thing that should be done is increase class sizes."
Wicklow and Limerick County were the worst affected areas, both seeing over 28 per cent of students in classes of 30 or more.
Last month, it was reported by the Irish Times that class sizes are set to grow further due to government efforts to cut the education budget.