Raise your voice for primary education in Budget 2023

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) ramped up its Budget 2023 campaign today with the launch of an online tool that members, parents and concerned citizens can use to lobby local representatives in the run-up to the Budget announcement on September 27.

This is part of a wider campaign that features on-street advertising and social media promotion to reinforce the work carried out at the start of the summer, which included a fully costed pre-Budget submission and a hugely successful national lobby day, bringing together more than 100 public representatives, local activists and the INTO leadership.

For Budget 2023, the INTO is asking teachers, parents and anyone with an interest in our children’s future, to contact Oireachtas members by clicking through the image below, to relay the INTO message that Investment is Key for Budget 2023.

Together we can raise our voice for primary and special education.

The INTO is calling for increased investment to the value of €72 million annually.

INTO General Secretary John Boyle said:

“OECD figures show Ireland spends on average 20% less per student at primary level than other developed countries. This decades-long failure to properly invest in primary education means our children are not getting the education and supports they deserve.

“The effect of this is magnified for under-privileged pupils and children in Special Education or with additional needs.

“We have engaged in a comprehensive campaign this summer calling for investment in primary education to equal European norms. The launch of our email-a-TD online tool means everyone who cares about our young children’s education and welfare can have their voice heard at the highest political level.

The INTO campaign theme is, Investment is Key for 2023, and calls on Government to address four areas of particular concern:

  1. Reduce class sizes to the European average: The INTO is calling for a two-point reduction in average class size to finally bring Ireland in line with the European average of 20 pupils per class. The estimated full-year cost is €30 million.
  2. Fund our schools: Surveys have found schools raised €46 million to keep their doors open. Most of this comes from hard-pressed parents making up the funding shortfall due to the miserly capitation grant of €1 per pupil per day. The INTO is calling for a significant increase in the capitation grant to better fund schools and reduce the burden on parents which is especially important at this time of high inflation. The estimated cost of a 20% increase in the capitation grant is €20 million per annum.
  3. Invest in mental health supports for pupils: The number of primary pupils referred to CAMHS and other services rose 40% during the pandemic. The INTO is therefore calling for wider availability of age-appropriate supports including increased availability of on-site counselling in line with international best practice. The estimated cost of a €20 grant per pupil for onsite counselling is €11 million per annum.
  4. Support school leadership teams: The 2009 moratorium on promotion led to primary and special schools losing over 4,500 assistant principals. These are the people who share responsibilities with Principals and Deputy Principals in areas including Special Education, pupil wellbeing, and planning for DEIS and inclusion. While the INTO has succeeded in getting 2,700 posts restored, there is still a shortfall. The INTO is seeking the full restoration of the outstanding 1,800 posts at an estimated cost of €11 million per annum.

For more information and to see the INTO Budget 2023 submission and the email a TD tool, see: Budget 2023 – Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (into.ie)