independent

Friday 31 October 2014

'Partial climbdown' in school book rental scheme welcomed

Published 29/04/2014 | 05:24

Cllr Anne Ahern has welcomed what she calls a 'partial climb-down' from Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn on the School Book Rental Scheme.

It follows an outcry from hundreds of schools that were deliberately excluded from the scheme because they had made significant sacrifices to begin their own school book rental programme. 'This latest u-turn from Minister Quinn will come as some relief to the 76% of schools across the country that were left high and dry when the School Book Rental Scheme was announced in October,' said Cllr Ahern.

'These are schools that were being penalised for their own initiative and resourcefulness in setting up a book rental scheme to help ease pressure on parents. The vast majority of the schools had to make huge sacrifices to do this, moving funds from other important school projects and engaging parents and local communities in fundraising drives.'

Cllr Ahern says that schools who already have a scheme in place will receive €18 per head, while DEIS schools with book rental schemes will receive €20. This compares to €100 and €150 respectively for schools that have no scheme. It is also understood that schools will have to wait until the academic year 2015/2016 for this to come in place.

'I find it very disappointing that schools that made huge sacrifices to introduce a scheme are getting a much lower level of support from the Government,' Cllr Ahern continued.

'These are schools that are themselves struggling financially. Many of them are only in the early stages of establishing a book rental scheme, others are set to see a significant rise in pupil numbers in the coming years and others simply couldn't raise the funds for a fully operational book rental scheme. They deserve the same level of investment as other schools.'

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