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Sinn Féin tackles under-investment in Education system with Budget 2018 proposals - Kathleen Funchion TD

3 October, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD


Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education Kathleen Funchion TD has said that Sinn Féin would tackle under-investment in all levels of Education from a child's earliest years to third level.

Speaking after the party’s Alternative Budget launch at the Davenport Hotel this afternoon, Deputy Funchion said:

"Education has suffered hugely as a result of significant under-investment and harsh cutbacks by successive Fine Gael governments in recent years.

"Sinn Féin’s proposals for Budget 2018 aim to tackle the under-investment in our education system, to create more equal access to education from children’s youngest years while also establishing a firm foundation for our State to compete on the international stage through a well-resourced public education system.

"The stark reality today is that students are currently being taught in overcrowded classrooms while school principals struggle to cover the basic costs of running a school.

"More and more, the costs of ‘free education’ are being passed on to parents and are presenting an impossible financial burden to children of lower and middle-income households.

"Cuts in Guidance Counselling provision have impacted students negatively and hinder much needed assistance in schools where guidance is needed most.

"Supports for children with special needs have been cut, minimising their time with Special Needs Assistants and Resource Teachers. This is unjust and wrong.

"Student fees have been increased and grant supports have been cut, meaning that many third-level students have had to leave their courses.

"With substantial investment of €118.93m in overall Education we would commit to changing this.

"As part of our proposals, Sinn Féin want to:

  • - Increase School Capitation rates by 5% - Cost €10 million

- Reduce the Pupil-Teacher Ratio at Primary School by 2 points

- Cost € 12 million for 2018 (full year cost €36 million)

- Restore Guidance Counselling provision in secondary schools

- Cost €5.1 million in 2018 (full year cost €15.4 million)

  • · Additional 450 resource teachers and 500 SNAs
    • - Cost €14.7 million in 2018 (full year cost €44.2 million)
  • · Increase Funding for Educational Psychologists - Cost €3.432 million
  • · Reverse Staffing Cuts to Small Schools - Cost €2.5 million for 2018 (full
    • year cost €7.5 million)
  • · Restore Funding for the School Completion Programme to 2010
    • Levels - Cost €2.08 million in 2018 (full year cost €6.24 million)
  • · Tackle Back to School Expenses - Cost €28.6
    • - Increase funding for School Books Grant by 30% - €5 million
      - Increase funding to the School Meals Programme by 20% - €9.5 million
      - Increase the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance by €50 - €14.1 million
  • - Increase Funding to the School Transport Scheme by €7 million
  • - Reduce the Student-to-Staff Ratio in Institutes of Technology by 1 point - Cost €8.51 million for 2018 (full year cost €25.62 million)
  • - Increase Core Funding to Higher Education Institutions

- Cost: €9.6 million

  • - Reduce the Student Contribution Charge by €500

- Cost €7.07 million for 2018 (full year cost €37 million)

  • Increase Funding for the Student Assistance Fund and the Scheme for Students with Disabilities by 20% - Cost: €3.74 million
  • Abolish PLC course fee - Cost: €3 million
  • Create 500 places on the Momentum Scheme for people with disabilities.
    • Cost: €1.6 million

“Our proposals for Budget 2018 as outlined above are proof of that commitment."

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