Primary school funding fails teachers and students

Responding to a circular (0034/2019) issued by the Department of Education and Skills today, the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) demands an increase in funding for primary schools.

The INTO has reiterated its call for increased funding for the day-to-day running costs of primary schools in light of the Department of Education and Skills circular released today which confirms that capitation funding for the 2019/20 school year remains at less than a euro per pupil per day.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said, “It is unacceptable that primary level receives less funding per pupil than secondary” and called for the funding to be increased. He said “Since 2010, capitation has been cut from €200 per pupil. Since then, we have had significant increases in energy and insurance costs and, while this is the first positive change in capitation we have seen in a decade, the current grant just isn’t enough. The government must restore funding to the pre-2010 levels at a minimum, so schools can cover their basic needs.”

The capitation grant is intended to cover the day-to-day running costs of a school, such as heating, lighting, insurance, general upkeep and the purchase of teaching materials but, for many schools, it falls short. A lot of schools are forced to resort to fundraising to ensure the
basic costs can be covered.

It is clear that the partial restoration of the previous grant level will not meet school funding requirements. That is why school funding is a priority for INTO in Budget 2020, alongside the need to reduce class size and to support school leadership.

On funding, in Budget 2020, INTO is calling for:

– Primary school per-pupil investment in Ireland to rise in line with other developed countries (we are in the bottom half of the table of OECD countries for such funding now), and

– Restoration of the capitation grant to €200 per pupil immediately, and thereafter to move to the post-primary funding level (revised capitation funding for secondary schools is €309 per student).