Wednesday 22 November 2017

Half billion paid to private schools

John Drennan

John Drennan

State subsidies to fee-paying institutions increase in last five years despite drop in student numbers

Belvedere College €19.3m

St Andrew's College, Booterstown €19.1m

Blackrock College, Co Dublin €18.8m

Wesley College, Dublin €16.9m

Kilkenny College, Castlecomer €16m

Christian Brothers College, Wellington, Cork €15.6m

Newbridge College, Kildare €14.9m

Terenure College, Dublin €14.5m

High School Zion Road, Rathgar €14.2m

Kings Hospital, Dublin €13.7m

Ireland's top private schools have been subsidised to the tune of over half a billion euro over the last five years.

The fee-paying schools received subsidies from the taxpayers of €513,884,000 between 2007-2011, according to figures given to the Galway West TD Derek Nolan.

Top of the class was inner-city Dublin school, Jesuit-run Belvedere College, which clocked up government funding of almost €20m.

Three Loreto schools also secured almost €35m in funding from the taxpayers during the period.

The figures also reveal that despite the recession there has been only a tiny drop in the numbers attending fee paying schools. In 2011 the number of pupils attending fee paying schools was 26,270, which is a drop of 61 on the number in 2007, at the height of the boom.

But though the numbers have only decreased by 0.4 per cent, the cost of the tax-payer subsidy has increased by 16.18 per cent over the last five years due primarily to teacher pay increases.

Other schools to figure highly in the subsidy stakes were Presentation Brothers College, The Mardyke, Cork (€13.190m); the well-known Gonzaga College (€11.13m); Mount Anville (€11.7m); Alexandra College (€10.68); and Mount Sackville, which received €11.179m.

During this period the three Loreto colleges of Foxrock (€11.690m), Loreto Abbey (€11.679m) and Loreto High School (€11.614m) received just under €35m in state payments.

Speaking to the Sunday Independent, Mr Nolan called for the Government to closely examine the rationale and justification behind the ongoing payment of "subsidies for fee-paying secondary schools''.

He noted that it was astonishing "these subsidies -- which cover teacher salaries, the salaries of clerical officers and S&A teachers -- increased at a time when the number of pupils in such schools actually decreased''.

Sunday Independent

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