Primary teachers demand equal funding for schools

Primary teachers at the INTO’s annual Congress in Killarney today demanded equality of funding between primary and second level schools.

Arthur Fallon from Mullingar called for per pupil funding at primary to be raised from €180 at present to €296 which is currently paid to secondary schools. He said phone lines, service contracts on intruder and fire alarms cost the same and schools pay the same TV licence. “Parents supplement the essentials for the daily running of schools,” he told the delegates.

Earlier INTO general secretary, Sheila Nunan accused the Minister for Education, Richard Bruton of not funding curriculum art, curriculum music or curriculum PE. “Those run on parental contributions or charitable donations from local business,” she said. She said teachers agreed with parents groups. “Voluntary contributions aren’t voluntary.”

Brid O Dwyer from Galway said primary schools received lower capitation grants for running costs and lower IT grants. “Primary pupils are not second class citizens,” she said.

Ann Comyn from Gort said primary level always fell into the poor relation category. She told delegates that an ipad for a junior infant was not cheaper than an ipad for a 4th year student at second level and she questioned the inequality in allocation of funds.

John Brennan from Enniscorthy said it beggared belief that schools are fundraising or tapping up banks for overdrafts to stay solvent. He said the minor works grant was not a discretionary grant to be bestowed at the behest of the Minister. “There is no excuse for not putting it on a statutory footing.”