Education Minister must act on findings of report into fee paying schools – O’Brien
Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien has welcomed the publication today of a report into the discretionary income available to 55 private fee paying schools in the state.
The report entitled “Fee Charging Schools – Analysis of Fee Income” has been complied by the Department of Education and Skills (DES) on data provided during a 2012 survey of fee charging schools in an effort to better inform future policy and funding decisions.
Deputy O’Brien said: “The findings of this Report clearly shows that the discretionary income available to fee paying schools that receive State subsidies of €100 million annually is significantly more than what is available to similar size public schools.
“The average income for fee paying schools is €1.48 million which allows the recruitment of additional subject teachers and extra staff as well as money for improvements to school buildings and extra-curricular activities.
“Fee-paying schools therefore, reported an average spending fund of €3,177 per student which means they have seven times more funding available for extra-curricular activities and facilities than students in the state sector.
“This figure rises to 10 times the state average for students in the nine most expensive fee-paying schools.
“The information in this report shows that there can be no justification for the state paying tens of millions in subsidies for private fee paying schools at a time when essential frontline education services have been targeted in countless cuts.
“It is now incumbent on the minister to act on the findings of this report because there can be no justification for the department to fund so called elite schools when thousands of children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are having the limited supports available to them cut in successive budgets.”