Almost €80k spent on home tuition for 24 pregnant pupils last year
The Government spent almost €80,000 on a home-schooling scheme for pregnant students in the last school year, it has been revealed.
The 'Maternity Related Home Tuition Grant Scheme' provides funding towards home education for post-primary pupils who are unable to attend school due to falling pregnant.
Figures released to Independent.ie from the Department of Education and Skills show that 24 applications were approved for the 2016/2017 school year.
The total spend on the scheme during the year amounted to a total of €79,272.32.
For each pupil, the maximum number of hours for tuition provided under the scheme is 90 hours over a 6 month period.
"Maternity related Home Tuition is intended as an interim provision to assist girls to complete their education at second level," a department spokesperson said.
"The tuition can take place over a 6 month period from the date of sanction."
The rates for home tutors increased in January this year, according to the Department of Education.
A fully qualified post-primary teacher can receive up to €44.84 per hour, while a fully qualified primary teacher may receive up to €37.29 per hour.
A modified rate of €33.36 also exists. A pregnant post-primary student availing of the full 90 hours during the 6 months with a post-primary teacher amounts to €4,035.60 in total.
The payments are made directly from the Department to the tutor on behalf of the parents or guardians.
According to the Teen Parents Support Programme, pregnant secondary school students are also entitled to the Childcare Employment and Training Support (CETS) Scheme.
Under the scheme, the maximum amount that childcare providers can charge for a child attending full-time is €25. Parents of those who attend childcare part-time can be charged a maximum of €15 per week, and afterschool chilcare costs €5 per week.
As part of a pre-Budget 2019 submission, TPSP are calling on the Government to introduce a Cost of Training allowance for young parents.
"Since the discontinuation of the Training Allowance, the TPSP continues to notice a reduction in the number of young mothers attending training courses. This is because they cannot afford the additional costs involved," the submission says.
"In the past many of the young mothers who availed of training were early school leavers.
"Training courses re-introduced them to learning, gave them new work skills, gave them access to career guidance, helped them to develop a work routine and improved the likelihood of their progressing to further vocational based training, PLCs and Third Level."