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Financial Problems of Primary Schools

April 14, 2008

Primary School Managers Alert the Dáil to Major Short fall in Funds this Year

  • Hundreds of schools facing financial difficulties
  • Massive levels of fund-raising required to keep schools afloat
  • Government Failure to Double Primary Capitation a Major Error

Today (Thursday 10th April), the representatives of all management bodies in Irish primary education are addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Science to alert the Dail to the serious financial problems facing primary schools this year.

The deputation consists of Mgn. Dan OʼConnor of the Catholic Primary School Management Association, Toni Buggle of the National Association of Boards of Management in Special Education, Bláthnaid Ní Ghréacháin of Gaelscoilleanna, Dónal Ó Conaill of Foras Pátrúnachta na Scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge, Canon John McCullagh of the Church of Ireland Board of Education, Paul Rowe of Educate Together and Shahzad Ahmed Quidwai of the Islamic Board of Education.

In a statement to be read out to the Committee, the deputation that represents the management of over 3,200 primary schools states:

"Irish primary education has been chronically underfunded for many years. This neglect is historic and has been carried out by governments of all parties. It is not our intention to dwell on the reasons for this underfunding but to concentrate your minds on the consequences of the failure of the government to address the needs of the system in the current year.

"The underfunding of primary schools has a serious effect on the efficiency of the system as a whole. Primary education is the foundation of our education system and failure to ensure that schools have sufficient funds to meet their day-to-day requirements is short-sighted and foolish.

"Contrary to the governmentʼs claims, the financial state of the primary schools has worsened over recent years. Increases in grants have simply not kept up with the escalating costs of running schools. This year, the reality for most national schools is that their income simply does not meet the minimum expenditure needed to run a school and has to be supplemented by fund-raising.

"In the case of schools associated with a parish and diocesan structure, there is a certain amount of community funding for the school. In the case of schools outside such structures, the balance must be made up by school-based fundraising.

There are some key elements to note:

  • Schools are fund-raising to cover necessities – utility bills, insurance and other essential items.
  • Schools are being forced to cut back on services in an attempt to break even.
  • An increasing number of schools are running in a deficit situation and cannot balance their books.
  • Increasing charges including water charges are eating into the meagre increase in capitation granted in this yearʼs budget.

 Primary Management Bodies, H8a Centrepoint, Oak Drive, Dublin 12, 01 4292500,

To download a photo of the Primary Management Bodies at Leinster House, click here

To view the Presentation by the Primary Management Bodies to the Dáil Joint Committee on Education and Science on concerns regarding primary school funding (11 April 2008), click here

To view the full debate of the Dáil Joint Committee on Education and Science on the Primary Management Bodies concerns regarding primary school funding (11 April 2008), click here