Children's education suffering as primary schools struggle to cover costs

Primary schools across the country are struggling - with parents forced to donate millions every year to cover essential bills.

Children's education suffering as primary schools struggle to cover costs

Primary schools across the country are struggling - with parents forced to donate millions every year to cover essential bills.

It is also having an impact on students - with some principals spending valuable teaching time on fundraising activities.

On average, schools get state funding of around €46,000 a year for operating costs - however average bills total €91,000 with the majority used to pay for costs such as heating, lighting, insurance and school tours.

The Catholic Primary Schools Management Association says the capitation grants only cover half the day to day costs and parents are forced to donate up to €46 million a year to cover the shortfall.

General Secretary Seamus Mulconry says it also has knock on effects for children.

"I spoke to a principal recently because he is working on a major project and he is spending about 20% of his time on fundraising," said Mr Mulconry.

"Now that is time that should be devoted to improving teaching and learning in school so whatever the monetary cost of this, the actual impact on our children's education is even greater."

Fergus Finlay of Bernardos
Fergus Finlay of Bernardos

Fergus Finlay from children's charity Barnardos says the situation is unacceptable.

"I am totally opposed to the idea that any parent should be forced to borrow money or go to a money lender or their Credit Union or put themselves in debt to provide their children with the basics of education," said Mr Finlay.

The Education Minister has been urged to restore the capitation grant to its pre-cut level of €200 per child.

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