Budget Fails to Deliver Budget Boost for Primary Education

Pittance of 4.6 cent per pupil per day added to school capitation funding

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 is an insult to the children and tax-paying parents of this country, it turns school principals and teachers into fundraisers. 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.

Irish primary schools receive significantly less funding than second and third level institutions. Primary schools get 92 cent per pupil per day to cover their running costs. Second-level schools get almost double that amount. Overall, for every €8 spent on primary schools, €11 is spent at second level and €15 at third level.

The Standard Capitation Grant per pupil has dropped from €200 in 2010 to €170 at present – in contrast to the current figure of €296 at post-primary level. Annual expenditure per student in Ireland is lower than the OECD average for pre-primary and primary education. Primary per pupil spend is 10% below EU average.

This funding disparity is grossly unfair and damaging to children’s long-term prospects. Department of Education and Skills funding to primary schools for their day-to-day running costs covers only part of their bill. Parents and local communities are subsidising primary schools to the tune of €46m a year to cover basic costs – not sophisticated extras to enhance learning, but rather basic necessities required to effectively deliver the curriculum.

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.”