Sunday 26 May 2019

Parents still have to fund school costs after 5pc grants rise

Education Minister Richard Bruton
Education Minister Richard Bruton

Parents will still have to fork out to help schools meet running costs after the Budget increase of only 5pc in day-to-day funding grants.

The Irish National Teachers' Organisation said it would have "no noticeable impact on the crisis in funding facing schools around the country".

Overall, the Department of Education saw a €674m increase, bringing its budget to a record €10.7bn next year.

The €674m includes €147m to meet pension and lump sum costs, a higher than usual allocation at this time, which has been agreed to avoid the need for a supplementary estimate later in 2019. It also includes €122m to cover pay rises.

Education Minister Richard Bruton insisted that the Budget would "help us make significant progress on our journey to becoming the best education and training service in Europe by 2026".


The 5pc rise in school capitation grants restores €8.50 of the €30-a-year cut to primary schools since 2010. At second level, the increase is €14.80, against a cut of €49.

John Curtis of the Joint Managerial Body, representing two in three post-primary schools, said that at a time when there has been restoration of most of the cuts implemented during the recession, "it is regrettable that students, parents and schools are disadvantaged".

Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland president Breda Lynch said it was "not enough".

Catholic Primary School Management Association general secretary Seamus Mulconry welcomed it as the "first small but positive step to restoring financing".

Fianna Fail education spokesperson Thomas Byrne said the increase "met a significant level of resistance at Cabinet that was difficult to comprehend".

There will be 1,300 more teachers and special needs assistants to cater for extra pupils, as well as some extra supports for principals.

The Irish Universities Association said €57m extra for higher education, while welcome, "only allows the system to tread water".

There is also €41.5m for further education and training programmes and, from January 2020, there will be a €300m five-year Human Capital Initiative to boost skills across the economy.

The Technological Higher Education Association, representing institutes of technology, was more welcoming of the funding announcements.

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