ONE well-known Protestant school says it is better off since it stopped charging tuition fees a year ago.
Adrian Oughton (pictured), principal of Wilson's Hospital School, Multyfarnham, Co Westmeath said: "We are no worse off financially and we are better off in terms of the pupil-teacher ratio."
The school, with 440 day and boarding pupils, negotiated a deal with the Department of Education to enter the free education scheme.
Its pupils pay for services, such as accommodation (in the case of boarders), meals and supervised study. "We charge day pupils for what the State does not provide; those things are entirely optional but we have a very high uptake" said Mr Oughton.
The school is now allowed one teacher for every 19 pupils, compared with one for every 21 pupils in fee-paying schools.
It also qualifies for various grants the department pays to schools in the free education scheme.