School Funding

Schools are struggling to meet their bills for basic costs such as heating, cleaning and insurance.

Irish primary schools receive significantly less funding than second and third level institutions. Primary schools get 97 cent per pupil per day to cover their running costs. Second-level schools get almost double that amount. The Standard Capitation Grant per pupil has dropped from €200 in 2010 to €179 at present, in contrast to the current figure of €309 at post-primary level.

Annual expenditure per student in Ireland is lower than the OECD average for pre-primary and primary education. Education at a Glance 2018 shows per-pupil expenditure at primary level in Ireland is substantially below OECD and EU averages, 18th of 33 counties in spending and therefore in the bottom half of the OECD table.

Primary per pupil spend is 10% below the 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.

The cost of restoring school funding to pre-recession levels is €12.5 million in a full year, or just €4.2 million in 2020.
(Source: Dáil Q&A no. 160, 16 April 2019)

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