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Private schools get €97m to pay teacher salaries

SAINT Andrew's College, in south county Dublin, has topped the list of private schools that receive public funding to pay for its teachers.

It comes as it emerged that the taxpayer forked out almost €97m to pay salary costs for 56 privileged schools across the country.

However, figures have also revealed that such schools received €13m less in State funding to pay teacher salaries in the last academic year, compared to five years ago.

ELITE

In the Irish education system, almost all of the cost of paying teachers at elite private schools is borne by the general public through taxation.

It means that the estimated €120m a year collected in tuition fees can be spent on better facilities for students such as sports grounds and lab equipment.

It's understood that some private schools also grant individual top-up payments – from their own funds – to headmasters and certain teachers in addition to the public portion of their salaries.

St Andrew's College in Blackrock was the biggest beneficiary from public funds among private schools for 2012/2013.

Salary costs at the school were almost €3.9m for the latest academic year.

Nearby Blackrock College received the second most with €3.6m while coming a close third was Belvedere College in the heart of Dublin city, where the costs were just €26,921 less.

Blackrock's junior school, Willow Park, received just under €724,000.

When it came to girls schools, Loreto, Foxrock was among the highest recipient with almost €2.27m followed by Loreto Abbey, Dalkey at €2.25m.

REDUCTION

Mixed secondary school The High School in Rathgar received €2.72m.

A spokesperson said that reduction in costs to the state was a result of Education Minister Ruairi Quinn's decision to target fee paying schools, by increasing pupil-to-teacher ratios.

She said that private schools were now paid on the basis of one teacher for every 23 students, while free schools were paid on the basis of one teacher to 19 students.

The total cost of teachers in secondary and community and comprehensive schools paid on department was €1.12bn.

hnews@herald.ie


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