14th Oct 2014 - IPPN's Reaction to Budget 2015

IPPN welcomed the announcement that there are additional teachers and SNAs allocated in Budget 2015. However, this increased figure will cater for the increase in the growing school population and a positive impact will not be felt for children in the class room.

Following the announcements for this year’s budget, IPPN has an immense concern for the continued decrease in capitation grants that has gone relatively unspoken for 2015. A 1% reduction a year for primary school capitation and related grants was announced in Budget 2012, the final percentage decrease will take place in 2015.

The grant paid by the state for the operation of primary schools was €200 per child in 2009. In 2015, this grant will have fallen to €170 per child. IPPN President, Brendan McCabe, today described the impact this continued decrease would have on schools as ‘severely compromising the ability of a school to maintain its own facilities, to provide a warm building and to pay its own bills’.

On several occasions, there have been calls made to principals and Boards of Management to cease the practice of asking of voluntary contributions from parents. What started as voluntary contributions 4 to 5 years ago has now become more like ‘bail out’ contributions to help pay for basic operational costs.

IPPN CEO, Sean Cottrell stated ‘how can a government that talks about innovation, knowledge society, creative workforce, high tech employees etc, not see the gaping hole in the system. A fundamental building block of our education system is at primary level. Every parent, teacher, educator and principal knows that you cannot make up at second level that was not properly learned in primary school. This truism also applies between second and third level. Building capacity in our education system is a bottom up exercise’.

IPPN is extremely concerned that the government has failed to prioritise children’s mental health issues. In its Pre-Budget submission, IPPN called for the appointment of additional NEPS psychologists to support primary schools. Early detection and prevention of issues affecting mental health at primary school age is more effective and less costly than seeking to provide the cure or addressing the same issues further down the track. A succession of IPPN surveys have uncovered continuing disturbing increases in the levels of depression, anxiety, emotional trauma and neglect amongst primary school-going children. Allied to the increasingly strong influence of social media and cyber bullying, children are being exposed to levels of pressure that they may not have experienced before.

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