16th September 2021
The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) recently launched our Budget 2022 campaign setting out our priorities for primary education ahead of Budget 2022, due to be announced on 12 October. Every single member (and parent) can play a role in helping us to secure critical investment in our schools.
Irish primary schools are not adequately funded by Government to provide the most basic supplies and resources to ensure a safe, clean, and stimulating learning environment for all our children. Primary schools receive a capitation grant of €1 per pupil per school day to cover their running costs. Second-level schools receive almost double that amount. Parents, teachers, and school communities are spending their own money to make up the shortfall and keep schools afloat.
The standard capitation grant per pupil has dropped from €200 in 2010 to €183 at present, in contrast to the current figure of €316 at post- primary level. This funding disparity is grossly unfair.
A 100-pupil school, which will have 4 classrooms and associated special education provision, has €18,300 per annum to cover all day to day running costs including heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance, and general upkeep. It should also be noted that a proportion of the grant is intended to be used by schools to assist with the purchase of teaching materials and resources. Education at a Glance 2020 shows per-pupil expenditure at primary level in Ireland is substantially below OECD and EU averages, in the bottom half of the OECD table.
The Department of Education’s 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 such as energy and insurance costs – not sophisticated extras to enhance learning, but rather basic necessities required to effectively deliver the curriculum.
There has been an increased focus on and awareness of education throughout the pandemic. We must work to direct this focus to our areas of concern and make our voices heard over the coming weeks to place our demands for primary education at the top of the political agenda.
In the run up to the budget, our political representatives need to hear from you about the wholly inadequate funding being provided to primary and special schools and the negative impact this funding shortfall has on our children and on the wider school community. You can help by emailing your local TD and Government party leaders and by encouraging your school colleagues, INTO branch members and parents and your wider school community to do the same ensuring that all TDs are fully aware of the needs of primary and special schools.