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Government must implement Joint Oireachtas Report on School Costs – Nolan

16 August, 2016

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Carol Nolan, has called on the Government to implement the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Report on Tackling School Costs published in 2013.

Teachta Nolan said:

“After meeting with Barnardos today and hearing first-hand the impact of Back to School Costs on ordinary families, it is clear that this Government needs to act.

“In 2013, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Social Protection completed a report on tackling back to school costs.

“This report recommended a number of measures that would ease the burden on families such as the discontinuance of voluntary contributions and the charging of fees for enrolment or application; the introduction of mandatory book rental schemes for parents; the introduction of generic school uniforms and guidelines in relation to extra-curricular activities.

“Instead of acting to reduce the burden on ordinary families, the previous government slashed capitation rates to schools, reduced the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance and diminished supports for one-parent families with devastating results for children in disadvantaged households.

“St Vincent DePaul has stated that the Back to School period is the next busiest time of year for their organisation apart from Christmas.

“The costs of sending children to school are presenting a real burden to families and they make a mockery of our so-called free education system.

“According to the latest Barnardos survey 88% of parents with children at primary school and 94% of parents with children at secondary level are asked for a voluntary contribution and most disturbingly, more than half of all parents surveyed with children at secondary school paid a registration fee.

“It is high time for this government to act to eliminate the very real barriers to education and put an end to this annual struggle for low and middle income families.”

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