Weight of Schools Bags

The Department of Education and Skills is aware of the potential problems caused by the weight of schoolbags. In this regard, some years ago, the Department initiated an awareness-raising campaign by disseminating the report, with an accompanying circular, to all primary and post-primary schools.

It is a matter for each individual school to choose those measures that would be most suited to its individual needs and that fit with how the school organises teaching and learning. The Department is aware that positive action has been taken by many schools on these issues. Actions consist of a range of measures, including the provision of lockers and in the case of second level schools the arrangement of the timetable into double class periods, active liaison with parents and the co-ordination of homework by subject teachers. Apart from a small number of prescribed texts at second level (mainly in the case of language subjects) school textbooks are not approved or prescribed by the Department at first or second level. Decisions on which books to use in schools are taken at school level.

A Working Group was set up some time ago and acknowledged that many of the solutions belong at local school level. The Report of the Working Group makes various recommendations in this regard, such as optimum use of storage facilities, developing pupil organisation skills and timetabling.

The following are the circulars the Department has issued over the years in regard to weight of school bags:

Circular NumberTitleLevelDate Issued
PC13/05Weight of School BagsPrimary01/05/2005
M35/05Weight of School BagsPost Primary14/05/2005
PC51/98Weight of School BagsPrimary01/10/1998
M41/98Weight of School BagsPost Primary01/10/1998