Educate Together is expressing serious concern at the omission of a specific funding stream to support the opening of new primary and second-level schools in yesterday’s budget.
While the commitments to increased education expenditure are to be welcomed, the continued lack of funding for management bodies opening schools is a case for great concern.
Educate Together has said that the lack of specific funding for new schools, or for the divestment process, raises serious questions about the government's commitment to achieving its own target of 400 multi- and non-denominational schools by 2030. Educate Together has repeatedly pointed to the lack of funding for this programme as a major barrier to progress.
This September, Educate Together opened five brand new second-level schools as well as four primary schools in Dublin, Cork Wicklow and Mayo. It costs Educate Together, a registered charity, between €60,000 and €100,000 to open a new school. The maximum grant available for opening new primary schools at present is €10,000 and there is no standard grant for opening new second-level schools.
Emer Nowlan, Educate Together Chief Operating Officer:
"Demand for Educate Together schools has been increasing rapidly all over the country in recent years. Families seeking school choice were encouraged by the inclusion of specific targets in the Programme for Government. However, these targets cannot be met on fresh air.
We are posing the obvious question: how does the government plan to meet its own commitments to school choice and pluralism if is not willing to invest in the programme?”
A full breakdown of the cost of opening Educate Together schools at primary and second-level can be downloaded below.