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Wednesday 24 September 2014

Mum-of-five is in charge of school rental scheme - but still faces €300 bill for sons

Published 04/09/2014 | 02:30

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Linda O'Shea from Waterford City with her sons, Daniel, 5th year St. Paul's and Jack, 6th class, Scoil Lorcáin with some of their school books. Picture: Patrick Browne

MOTHER-of-five Linda O'Shea will have to pay hundreds of euro on school books for her children this academic year, despite the rental schemes in their schools.

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The Waterford resident is herself in charge of the book rental scheme in her son's secondary school. But Ms O'Shea will still be faced with bills in excess of €300 for her two school-going children this September.

While some schools offer a book rental scheme that covers all books for all children, others can only provide a limited amount or just offer the core textbooks, with parents having to pay for the excess.

Ms O'Shea said that for her 12-year-old son, who will be starting sixth class this year, she will be required to pay a €25 fee for the rental of his textbooks. However, she also spent €80 on workbooks and even more on copy books.

Her next child will be enrolling in fifth year in September, and his book rental alone costs €100.

Ms O'Shea is also the spokesperson for the National Parents Council for Post-Primary Schools.

"I would like to see book rentals in all schools, and if not, the price of books to come down," she told the Irish Independent.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Skills said that from a survey it conducted last year, it was found that a book rental scheme is operated in 84pc of primary schools, as well as 68pc of secondary schools.

It has rolled out an additional €15m plan for the remaining 553 schools that did not have a book rental scheme, and 431 of these now plan to establish one.

They will receive €100 per pupil for the next two years, while DEIS schools will receive €150. The remainder has been made available to schools that currently operate schemes. They should expect to receive €18 per child over the coming two years, while DEIS schools will receive €21 per pupil.

EMMA JANE HADE

Irish Independent

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