The Social Democrats have said the government must restore capitation rates for primary schools in this year’s Budget to ease the unsustainable burden on parents of subsidising the State’s ‘free education’.

The party’s co-leader Róisín Shortall TD made the call following reports today of analysis by Grant Thornton which shows that parents are forking out €46 million a year to keep the country’s primary schools running.

Deputy Shortall said:

“Our Constitution says that the State will provide free primary education – yet the costs many parents face shows that we are failing children and families when it comes to this most basic and fundamental provision.

“Primary school capitation grants from the Department of Education are supposed to cover schools’ running costs, but as today’s analysis shows this clearly is not the case. It is just not sustainable for schools to rely on parents and the local community for half the money they need for day-to-day bills.

“The Minister for Education needs to ensure that this year’s Budget includes the restoration of the annual capitation payments for primary schools to the 2010 level of €200 per pupil – up from the current €170.

“In the Social Democrats’ Alternative Budget last year, we put the cost of introducing genuinely free primary education at €103.2m in a full year. This includes a restoration of capitation payments to 2010 levels. It would also mean that families would not have to cover the costs of funds for text books and workbooks, and it would deliver free transport for students who qualify for the School Transport Scheme.”


23 April 2018

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