Monday 20 August 2018

Increase in primary school funding being considered for autumn Budget

A new report, by consultants Grant Thornton, estimates that parents and local communities are subsidising primary schools to the tune of €46m a year to cover basic costs. Stock Image: Getty Images
A new report, by consultants Grant Thornton, estimates that parents and local communities are subsidising primary schools to the tune of €46m a year to cover basic costs. Stock Image: Getty Images
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

An increase in funding for primary schools is under consideration for the autumn Budget, Education Minister Richard Bruton has confirmed.

His comments follow the release of a report showing that the money the Department of Education gives to primary schools to meet their day-to-day running costs covers only half their bill.

A new report, by consultants Grant Thornton, estimates that parents and local communities are subsidising primary schools to the tune of €46m a year to cover basic costs.

The study was conducted on behalf of the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association (CPSMA). The figures show an overall drop in both income and spending between 2015 and 2016 - as boards of management cut their coat according to their cloth: income fell by 4pc and spending was down 2pc.

The CPSMA has called for the restoration of cuts imposed in 2010, which have reduced State funding to the sector by €110m, in the first instance.

The Programme for Government commits the Government to increase the funding, known as the capitation grant, and, while it is in the mix for the next Budget, Mr Bruton would not be drawn on whether it would definitely feature.

If it does, the next question will be the level of any increase.

The issue is not covered directly by the Government's Confidence and Supply Arrangement with Fianna Fáil.

However the party's education spokesperson Thomas Byrne said that more money for public services, such as education, was fundamental to that agreement.

He said that it was featuring in the discussions that the party was now having in the run-up to the Budget.

"This is an area that needs to be addressed," he said.

Mr Byrne asked what had happened to initiatives announced by Mr Bruton, such as additional capitation for schools that kept costs down in areas such as uniforms and books. "Nothing has happened," he said.

Irish Independent

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