26th January 2017 - Recent survey reveals that Ireland’s primary schools are still struggling to make ends meet

The Annual Conference of the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN) will hear that almost half of Ireland’s primary schools are locked in the grip of a financial crisis with voluntary contributions being sought to fund basic utilities such as water, heat and lighting.

Over eleven hundred primary school leaders will gather this week in Citywest Convention Centre on Thursday and Friday, January 26th and 27th to hear recent survey data confirm that many primary schools are slipping into a financial abyss.

When recession struck in 2008/2009, schools were immediately penalized with resources for special needs cut by 15% and the Capitation Grant which funds the day to day expenses of schools cut by over €30 per pupil over the following three years. This cumulative withdrawal of funding has resulted in schools desperately turning to parents for support and to pick up the tab.

IPPN CEO, Sean Cottrell stated “Schools have been models of frugality over the last five years. While outcomes in Irish education have improved - evidence being the latest international PISA scores which place Ireland in the top ten highest achieving countries in literacy and numeracy - successive governments continue to starve the education system of much needed funding. This policy will inevitably prevent us from joining the educational elite such as Finland and Korea, a position we can comfortably occupy with adequate resourcing”.

A recent IPPN survey also highlights that almost 65% of schools request a ‘voluntary contribution’ and that 48% of schools are running at a financial deficit at the present moment. 28% of schools that receive a voluntary contribution spend it on servicing utility bills.

Voluntary contributions also service the purchase of art and craft requisites, curriculum materials and extra-curricular activities.

Only just over 8% of schools are in a healthy financial position according to this recent survey data.

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