11th October 2023
The Minister for Education released further details of the education budget this afternoon (Wednesday, 11 October). The document gives additional detail on the headline measures announced yesterday. INTO particularly welcomes the provision of €4m in 2024 for the restoration of posts of responsibility in schools from September 2024. We await further detail on how these will be allocated to schools. Our lobbying campaign this year particularly emphasised the importance of these posts in strengthening school leadership and providing for career progression for teachers.
INTO also welcomes the announcement of a Professional Masters in Education (PME) incentive scheme, where some NQTs from PME courses after the completion of the 2024/25 school year will be eligible for an incentive payment of €2,000. This has been among our demands of the Minister to assist with teacher supply in particular areas and we look forward to engaging with the Department to ensure that this measure will be effective. We also welcome the €5m for the continuation of the the pilot counselling services to continue for another year but we are disappointed the programme has not been expanded.
Other additional information relevant to primary and special schools includes:
- The restoration of the primary capitation grant to 2011 levels – from €183 to €200 per pupil per annum. While the budget also provides for an additional €60 million in cost of living supports for schools, we remain concerned about the precarious nature of school finances.
- 744 additional Special Educational Needs Teachers (at primary and post primary). This is broken down as follows:
- 205 special education teachers;
- 477 special class teachers;
- 62 teachers in special schools.
- 100 additional teaching posts in special schools and the lowering of the threshold for the appointment of administrative deputy principals;
- €20 million in funding for the Enhanced Summer Programme totalling €40 million for summer 2024;
- A capital allocation of €940 million for 2024 for the addition of essential capacity in schools through building new schools and the rollout of additional accommodation in existing schools.
INTO General Secretary John Boyle welcomed today’s clarifications from the Department of Education stating:
The INTO has been commended by commentators and politicians for its professional approach to pre-budget lobbying. While we are disappointed that there has been no further class size reduction, we are very pleased that government has addressed three of our four campaign priorities and that another one of our creative solutions to the teacher supply crisis has been taken on board. The additional resources for supporting DEIS, special schools and special education in mainstream schools will undoubtedly make a difference to the lives of vulnerable children. We thank all of our dedicated lobbyists and members who engaged with our pre-budget campaign and acknowledge the contribution of public representatives who agreed with our objectives to build a brighter future for every child. We will continue to advocate for higher investment in primary and special education.