Budget 2019 Leaves Primary Education Underfunded

INTO response to Budget 2019

INTO has called for school funding to be restored to pre-recession levels, having dropped to less than one euro per pupil per day. Schools are fundraising to meet basic expenses. Parents contribute enormous amounts of money to keep schools afloat. This funding model creates unnecessary burdens on school principals and teachers. While there is a modest restoration, the Government’s increase in school funding of 5% will have no noticeable impact on the crisis in school funding facing schools around the country.

Schools will be relieved that the Government has confirmed that the Minor Work grant of €29m will be paid in December or early January every year and for the coming years. This will enable schools to better manage minor work projects such as school maintenance.

During the recessionary period, a moratorium on promotion in schools was imposed. Almost 5,000 ‘posts of responsibility’ (PORs) were lost, severely diminishing management teams in our schools. These middle management posts were positive steps on the career ladder for teachers. INTO is disappointed that further restoration of these critical posts was not included in the Budget.

INTO campaigned for one release day per week for teaching principals who are over-burdened and over-stretched with an ever-increasing administrative workload in addition to their teaching duties. Today’s budget took a step in the right direction but falls short of delivering one admin day per week. As outlined, the Budget provides for one additional release day for teaching principals and five additional days for those in schools with special classes.

Principals in special schools have had a particularly challenging time. INTO acknowledges the 23 administrative deputy principal posts granted in this Budget to special schools with a principal and 15 or more class teachers.

The recent proposed agreement on new entrant pay is currently the subject of a member-wide ballot.

INTO Secretary General Sheila Nunan said, “While there has been a modest restoration, primary school teachers and parents have been let down by this inadequate increase in the capitation grant. Resulting from this decision, teachers will continue to have to fundraise for basic expenditure in schools and parents will still have to dig deep into their pockets to cough up voluntary contributions.

Teaching principals, especially those with special classes, will value the additional release days provided. This is a step in the right direction and INTO will continue to advocate for further release days until we secure one per week for all teaching principals.

It’s disappointing that the issue of class sizes wasn’t addressed in this budget. It’s an issue that affects every pupil. Similarly, disappointing was the lack of restoration of middle management posts, 5,000 of which were cut during the recession.”