Méid an Téacs

Infheistíocht Thosaíochta in Oideachas Bunleibhéil – Comhráiteas ó Eagrais Bainistíochta na mBunscoileanna in Éirinn

Meán Fómhair 30, 2008

Is oth linn a rá nach bhfuil ach leagan Béarla den phreaseisiúnt seo ar fáil. 

Catholic Primary Schools Management Association,
Church of Ireland Board of Education,
Educate Together,
Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge,
Islamic Board of Education,
National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education

Benefits will be felt across all society and future generations

The representatives of all management bodies responsible for the provision of primary
education in Ireland have come together to make the following statement:

“We call upon the government to give urgent priority to, and deliver substantially increased
funding for primary education in the budget to be announced on October 14th.

“Immediate action is critical not only for the maintenance of existing levels of service to
children and to address long standing funding shortfalls but also because of the current
rapid increase in student numbers.

“The provision of primary education is at the heart of how society judges the actions of
our government and political representatives. The consequences of failing to invest in the
education of the current generation of Irish children will be felt not only today but for many
decades to come and decisions made in government buildings over the next two weeks
will reverberate longer in education than in any other area of spending.

“Our primary schools are under-funded, under resourced and under staffed. Primary
schools this year are being forced to depend on an ever increasing burden of fund-raising
in order to meet basic costs. Most primary schools do not have the resources necessary
to deliver modern ICT or sports programmes. There is continued concern over special
needs provision and our schools continue to operate some of the largest classes in the
OECD. These issues are having a direct and serious effect on the levels of education being
delivered to children.

“It is urgent and necessary that this neglect is corrected, starting October 14th.

“The overwhelming consensus of economic and political commentators assert that the
future of our society will be that of a “knowledge” or “thinking” economy. It is impossible
to conceive of such a future without properly resourced schools.

“It is simply reckless to fail to invest in our education system at this time. Our primary
schools form the foundation upon which the performance of entire system is based and
unless we dramatically increase investment in primary education, Ireland will suffer both
economically, socially and culturally.

“The primary years of a pupils school life are absolutely vital. Children only grow once.
They only have one chance at their primary years. If they are educated well at this stage, it
sets them up for their whole life. As a result, it is essential that we exert our best
educational efforts during this phase of a person’s life. This means our best resources, our
best school buildings, our best teaching skills, our best classrooms. It is simply not
acceptable that we as a society continue to be prepared to accept the Cinderella status of
primary education when we all understand its strategic importance for the future.

“This is a basic question of government priorities, of prudent planning for the future and is
particularly important when there are difficulties with the public finances.

“Irish primary schools have been chronically underfunded by all governments since the
foundation of the State. Governments have neglected the primary system at the best of
times and worst of times. It is now imperative that this neglect is corrected. To fail to do so
is straightforward political irresponsibility.

“Primary schools form children’s basic attitudes and competencies. Lack of resources at
the primary level result in poor levels of educational attainment that can only be addressed
by costly and difficult interventions further up the system.

“It is essential that education is not regarded as a cost to the State coffers, but as the key
revenue generator and cost reducer for future governments.

“Money spent hiring an additional professional in a disadvantaged area is more than
justified if as a result two additional children become productive adults. The obvious corelation of crime statistics to those who have poor educational attainments means that
huge costs to the State in running prisons could be reduced by better resourced schools.

“There is a mounting level of evidence for the need for our schools to promote active lifestyles to prevent expensive health issues in the next generation. How can this be done
when so many of our primary schools have no sports halls or proper sports facilities?

“Schools with over crowded classrooms, without computers or ICT support cannot deliver
the skills that the current generation need to compete in the modern world. Refusing to
invest now will only build up greater costs tomorrow. This is neither a rational nor a wise

“It is for this reason that we call for a sustained increase in the funding for primary
schools in the current budget.

“We would like to state that – as the representatives of the 21,000 volunteers upon whom
the management of our primary school system depends – we have no personal or financial
interest in making this call. We do not seek to increase our salaries or improve our working
conditions. We do so purely on the behalf of hundreds of thousands of pupils in our
national schools, their future and the future of our society.”

Antoinette Buggle
National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education

Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin

Dónall Ó Conaill  General Secretary
Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge 

Mgn. Dan O’Connor
General Secretary
Catholic Primary Schools Management Association

Canon John McCullagh 
Church of Ireland Board of Education 

Paul Rowe
Chief Executive The key areas of neglect and under-funding are:
Educate Together General Funds

Shahzad Ahmed
Islamic Board of Education


The key areas of neglect and under-funding are:
General Funds

The primary capitation grant remains approximately half that paid to second level schools. Prices of utilities and resources make no distinction for the age of children and there is simply no justification for this discrepancy. Boards of management of our schools are reporting serious financial shortfalls as costs of materials, light, heat, water, phone and other necessities escalate. The education of children is being directly affected by these deficits as more and more time has to be devoted to fund-raising rather than school centred work.

Schools are increasingly being forced to economise on curriculum resources. There are often

simply no funds at all for vital ICT equipment. We are sliding backwards at a time when we
need to be making rapid forward progress. How will we be able to justify this state of affairs
to the children we are failing today as they grow to adulthood?

These levels of fund-raising are demoralising both staff and volunteers. They are also socially divisive. Schools in well-off areas are better able to raise the required sums. Schools in areas where families have low levels of disposable income due to unemployment or crippling mortgages are becoming seriously disadvantaged. We profess to provide universal
education but will that be the case in years to come if we do not act now?

If children are not exposed to modern ICT programmes they are not being prepared for a
“knowledge economy”. By failing to invest in ICT this year the government will dramatically
reduce its revenues in 20 years’ time, and all talk of such a “knowledge’ economy” will be
seen as hollow rhetoric.

Schools without sports halls and equipment cannot properly develop the active life-styles that will be key to this generation’s future health. This government is simply storing up huge future costs in health by not acting on this issue now.

Funding shortfalls are affecting schools in the following main areas:

Light, heat and water; telephone and data communications; cleaning, secretarial and care–
taking; rents, insurance and accountancy; curriculum materials including ICT, sports and
music equipment; books and staff development and substitution.

These shortfalls can be decisively addressed by an immediate doubling of the primary
capitation grant from its current level of €178 to €356.

This should be accompanied by the immediate introduction of a single school payment
system in which school managers should be able to fill in one multi-part form once per year
and receive one payment. This will eliminate the vast array of complicated individual grants
and introduce significant efficiencies.

Speaking in relation to these issues, Mgn. Dan O’Connor, representing the Catholic
Primary Schools Management Association
, draws attention to the severe social
divisiveness of the de facto cuts that are being imposed on the primary system. Essentially
there are three types of school – wealthy where shortfalls can be made up by fund-raising, a
second group where funds are limited and the schools depend on the parish and a third type where no fund-raising at all is possible- such schools depend on the diocese and the
religious congregations just to keep the school going. The reality is that Inner city schools are constantly being bailed out and religious trustees pay insurance for them.

Figures show that all Catholic schools depend on parish and trustees for capital expenditure.

Referring to the impact of these factors on gaelscoileanna, Dónall Ó Conaill, Rúnai, Foras
Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge
, states:

“The inadequate funding impacts very seriously on gaelscoileanna. The low level of the
capitation grant places an undue burden on Boards of Management who are
overburdened with meeting their financial commitments, resulting in other necessary
aspects of their responsibilities often being postponed. This is the greatest deficiency
in the operation of our schools which has knock-on effects on the responsibilities and
working of the Boards of Management and schools. Boards of Management are
made up of committed and capable people entrusted with the management of our
schools. A doubling of the capitation grant would remove a great burden from board
members and allow more time and resources to be made available for other important
aspects of the Management of our schools. The voluntary contribution to the work of
Boards of Management is under valued and the provision of proper funding would be
a positive expression by the Government of the value they place on their voluntary
contribution to Education which ultimately saves the Government a lot of money.”

Reiterating this point, Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Ardfheidhmeannach, GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., says:
“The low level of capitation grant affects every child and every school in the country.
As a country we profess pride in our heritage of learning but we completely fail to back
this up with spending to allow for the basic provision of equipment, facilities and
services. The state has an obligation to provide education for all the nation’s children.
If the capitation grant is not raised to at least double the current figure in the budget,
then it will be failing in that obligation.”

Speaking on behalf of the Special Schools, Antoinette Buggle, General Secretary of the
National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education
“The shortfall in the Capitation Grant to Special Schools is putting increased pressure
on Boards of Management to make appropriate provision for children in their care
including children with Sever Behavioural Difficulties and complex health issues. The
impact of the large number of children aged 12 yrs. plus leaving mainstream schools
who are seeking admission to special schools has put further strain on already over
stretched funds. Special units in mainstream schools are experiencing the same

Speaking on behalf of the Educate Together Schools, Paul Rowe, CEO of Educate
“This is a critical juncture for Irish education. We must throw off the attitudes of the last
century and have the confidence to invest in our future. Social and economic
prosperity will not come without investment. The top priorities for this government
should be the doubling of the primary capitation grant, the reform of the grant system
and sustained and increasing investment in our primary schools.”

School Buildings

The fast track programme this summer demonstrated that high-quality permanent buildings
could be delivered efficiently for schools. This should lead the way to the elimination of the
chronic large scale waste of taxpayers money on inefficient temporary accommodation. It
should also see the provision of proper sports halls for all primary schools. In addition, this
approach should be used to provide the large number of new school buildings that are
necessary in the next two years.

Irrespective of the slowdown in inward population flows, Ireland has a rapidly increasing
population of school-going children. A significant surge in pupil numbers is taking place and
will peak in 2010 and 2011. This will require approximately 3,700 additional classrooms and
many new schools. The State must ensure that there is sufficient funding to provide this
additional accommodation whilst addressing the urgent needs of existing schools in
inadequate buildings.

It must act to change planning legislation to ensure that sites for schools are transferred as a condition of planning permission for housing estates and do so in such a way to minimise the costs to the taxpayer.
Today’s slowdown in the construction industry should mean that the State can obtain best
value for such capital projects. To fail to take advantage of this situation is to fail the taxpayer as well as the children in schools.

Special Schools
Special schools are primary schools where pupils remain until they are 18 years of age. In
recent years, the population of special schools has changed and now includes children with
severe behavioural difficulties and complex health issues. Behavioural difficulties can mean
school property is destroyed and has to be replaced. An increasing number of children aged
12 years plus who have attended mainstream schools are seeking admission to special
schools. Complex health issues mean there is a need for additional cleaning services, barrier
supplies for staff, waste disposal, defibrillator training, specialised training for special needs
assistants and bus escorts, a high level of water usage and higher heating costs.

Special schools also have to bear the cost of a bus and its running costs. A bus is essential
to a special school as they help prepare the students for adulthood. The cost of running a
bus for a year in small special school was €20,000.

Most special school were set up by parents and friends and, consequently, do not have the
backing of a parish. The children are brought to the school from a wide geographic spread
and the difficulty in raising funds is increased in such cases.

In one school three quarters of the school consists of prefabs. This is not unusual as children with Sever/Profound Learning Disabilities are now attending special schools set up for children with Moderate Learning Disabilities. How can prefabs be heated sufficiently to keep children warm who are on ventilators and on oxygen? Prefabs waste money in heating and maintenance costs. That particular school has three nurses who work full time and while it does not pay the salaries, the materials needed to peg feed, to resuscitate and do what
nurses do with physically challenged children must be funded.


Ireland lags behind OECD countries in the percentage of its wealth that is devoted to
education. The best performing economies and the best performing education systems
invest up to 8% of Gross Domestic Product on education (Finland). They have done so in all
phases of the economic cycle – in downturns and upturns – in bear markets and bull markets.
The average investment in education of all the OECD countries is 6.5% . Ireland still only
manages 4.5%.

If Ireland is to prosper in a globalised world economy, it must do so on the basis of an
economy of innovation, creativity and pathfinding enterprise. Such an economy can only be
based of a highly efficient, well-resourced education system. Now is the time to make the
investment necessary to bring this about and to end a century of neglect and lack of
investment in primary education.


Fearg Léirithe ag Gaelscoileanna Teo. Faoi Ráiteas an Aire ar Aitheantas Scoileanna

Meán Fómhair 12, 2008

Déardaoin, 11ú Meán Fómhair 2008


Cháin GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., eagraíocht ionadaíochta do 140 bhunscoil lán-Ghaeilge, Batt O’Keeffe, an tAire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta, as ráitis a thug sé inniu i leith aitheantais do scoileanna a roghnóidh sainmheon lán-Ghaeilge sa todhchaí.

"Téann tuairimí an Aire ar an gceist seo glan i gcoinne cearta an tuismitheora oideachas oiriúnach a roghnú dá bpáistí, mar atá leagtha síos i mBunreacht na hÉireann, gan trácht ar iallach an stáit An Ghaeilge a chaomhnú agus úsáid na teanga a spreagadh", a dúirt Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin, Ardfheidhmeannach GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.

"De réir dealraimh, ceapann an tAire gurb ionann rogha an tuismitheora agus ‘scoil ag gach crosbhóthar’, meon a léiríonn easpa measa nach beag ar thábhacht an chomhphobail sa tsochaí Éireannach."

"Aithníonn an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta an tábhacht le luach ar airgead tríd an gclár tógála scoile modúlach.  Tacaímid leis an gcur chuige seo, ach caithfidh sé seo ag bheith ag feidhmiú ar bhonn comhthreomhar le meon a léiríonn meas ar thábhacht an oideachais.  Ní fheiceann an tAire seo, de réir cosúlachta de."

"Is féidir leis na gaelscoileanna agus na scoileanna eile pátrún-bhunaithe aitheantas sealadach a lorg nuair atá 17 ar an rolla acu agus aitheantas buan a lorg nuair atá 51 dalta cláraithe leo.  Aithníonn sé seo an tslí ina fhásann an scoil agus an ról tábhachtach atá aici sa chomhphobal ina fheidhmíonn sí. Ba mhór againn a mheabhrú don Aire nár dhún scoil lán-Ghaeilge riamh de bharr líon na ndaltaí ag ísliú."

"Fiú an tseachtain seo, léirigh an OECD go bhfuil caiteachas oideachais an rialtais seo i measc na gcinn is ísle san Eoraip. In ainneoin an easpa tacaíochta seo ón Stát, tá caighdeán oideachais na tíre seo i measc na gcinn is fearr ar domhain. Eascraíonn an t-Oideachas is fearr as an gcomhphobal agus as toilteanas na dtuismitheoirí páirt a ghlacadh sna próisis bainistíochta, fealsúnachta agus tiomsú airgid, faraor."

"Caomhnaítear an tacaíocht seo trí chóras na bpatrún. Tá sé scannalach go gceistítear an bealach is éifeachtúla le tionchar a imirt ar thodhchaí ár bpáistí ar bhonn eacnamaíochta bacach san iarracht éigríonn ar dhrochthaifid agus easpa samhlaíochta an Stáit thar blianta fada a cheilt. Anuas air seo, bréagnaíonn sé gealltanas an Rialtais tacú le hoideachas trí mheán na Gaeilge agus é a chothú mar a leagadh síos i bhfíseán 2028, plean don teanga Gaeilge. Leagann sé seo constaic eile roimh an chórais agus roimh na ngrúpaí deonacha sa chomhphobal. "

"Tá súil againn nach bhfuil anseo ach tástáil tuairimí ar pháirt an Aire, a chuirfí ina cheart gan mhoill.  Beidh cruinniú práinneach á lorg againn leis an Aire le soiléiriú a fháil ar ráiteas an lae inniu."


Eolas sa bhreis:

Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin                                                Rob Hartnett

Ardfheidhmeannach – GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.            Director – Hartnett McClure PR

01 4773155 nó 086 8050335                                     01 6401821 nó 086 3851955

Fáiltíonn GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Roimh Oscailt na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge Nua Meán Fómhair 2008

Meán Fómhair 1, 2008

Fáiltíonn GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. roimh oscailt 4 bhunscoil lán-Ghaeilge i mí Meán Fómhair 2008 a bheas ag oscailt a gcuid doirse don chéad uair i mbliana.

Is iad na bunscoileanna lán-Ghaeilge atá i gceist ná:-

  1. Gaelscoil na Lorgan, Baile na Lorgan, Co. Mhuineacháin
  2. Gaelscoil Éadan Doire, Éadan Doire, Co. Uíbh Fhailí,
  3. Gaelscoil na gCloch Liatha, Na Clocha Liatha, Co Chill Mhantáin, agus
  4. Gaelscoil Ros Eo, Ros Eo, Co. Átha Cliath.

Fáiltítear go mór freisin roimh scoil nua lán-Ghaeilge ó thuaidh, atá ag oscailt le cabhair agus tacaíocht ár gComhpháirtithe Oideachais ó thuaidh, Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta. Is é ainm na scoile seo ná Bunscoil Uí Chléirigh, Dún Geanainn, Co. Thír Eoghain.

D’fháiltigh Ardfheidhmeannach GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, go mór roimh an dul chun cinn seo atá mar cheiliúradh ar an méid atá bainte amach ag na coistí bunaithe agus in earnáil na gaelscolaíochta. Deir sí, “Tá moladh mór tuillte ag na coistí bunaithe agus na tuismitheoirí atá ag obair go deonach le roinnt blianta anuas sna ceantair thuasluaite d’fhonn na scoileanna seo a oscailt agus oideachas lán-Ghaeilge a chinntiú dá bpáistí.”

Ach ar an drochuair, shoiléirigh sí gur i gcóiríocht shealadach a bheas na scoileanna seo ag feidhmiú go ceann roinnt bhlianta, ar aon dul le beagnach 50% d’iomlán na mbunscoileanna lán-Ghaeilge sa tír, idir nua agus sean-bhunaithe. Deir sí áfach ina thaobh, “go leanfaidh GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. i mbun stocaireachta arís ar an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta leis an bhFeachtas Cóiríocht Chóir chun staid na scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge a fheabhsú, idir cóiríocht chóir agus acmhainní cuí a thagann le hardchaighdeán an chórais gaelscolaíochta.”

Guíonn Uachtarán na hEagraíochta, Mícheál Ó Broin gach rath ar na scoileanna nua, na Príomhoidí, na múinteoirí maraon leis na daltaí atá ag tosú amach i ré nua thábhachtach ina saol. Do phobail na scoileanna ar an bhfód cheana, deir sé, “Tréaslaímid leis na tuismitheoirí chomh maith ar an ócáid bhródúil seo. Guímid gach rath freisin ar gach scoil lán-Ghaeilge atá ag ath-oscailt na doirsí agus ag tabhairt faoi bhliain úr scoile agus iad ag saothrú leo ag cur sároideachais ar fáil trí chóras an tumoideachais.”

Is í GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. eagraíocht chomhordaithe na scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge. Cabhraíonn sí le tuismitheoirí agus le grúpaí áitiúla scoileanna nua a bhunú agus tacaíonn sí leis na scoileanna atá bunaithe cheana féin. Tá 171 bunscoil agus 44 iar-bhunscoil lasmuigh den Ghaeltacht (ar bhonn 32 contae) ag cur oideachais lán-Ghaeilge ar fáil faoi láthair.