Hope that Budget 2018 Will Lead to More School Choice

Educate Together welcomes the continued reinvestment in education announced in increases to the education budget in yesterday’s Budget. The continued upward trend in expenditure is a positive and necessary measure to continue to make our education system work for more children and young people and their families. 

Budget measures to promote innovation, research, curriculum reform and school leadership are particularly welcome from an Educate Together perspective. Staffing increases and a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio will hopefully lead to better education access and experience for more students. Highlights include:

  • Increase in staff: over 2,300 additional posts in schools by the end of 2018. 
  • Additional support staff: over 1,090 new Special Needs Assistant posts in 2018.
  • Decreasing pupil-teacher ratio: improve the staffing schedule in primary schools by one point, from one teacher for every 27 pupils to 1 teacher for every 26 pupils.
  • Tackling inequality: further funding for DEIS schools

Speaking after the release of the budget, Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate Together stated:

“Educate Together welcomes the investment announced in this Budget and looks forward to working with the Department in implementing them as soon as possible. Educate Together particularly welcomes the reduction in the staffing schedule, the increased provision to support children with special needs and the increase in teaching posts.”

It is also encouraging that €40 million is allocated to provide for demographic growth in the school sector, which, in addition to carryover costs from 2017, will provide for the appointment of around 545 new classroom teachers and and capitation costs for an estimated 8,000 additional students from September 2018.

The continued commitment to investment in primary and post-primary school infrastructure is very welcome and Educate Together is hopeful that this will lead to an increase in school choice at both primary and second-level through the provision of new schools. 

Parents across Ireland are lobbying for new Educate Together national and second-level schools. The status quo is no longer reflective of Ireland’s burgeoning multicultural, religiously diverse society and it is vital that the Government recognises and remedies this as soon as possible. Educate Together looks forward to continuing to support the many ‘start-up’ groups led by parents across Ireland as new schools are developed and built.