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Tackling Back to School Costs must be key element of new legislation - Carol Nolan TD

5 December, 2016

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education and Skills, Teachta Carol Nolan, has said that tackling Back to School Costs must be a key element of the new Student and Parents Charter. Teachta Nolan was speaking as the General Scheme of the new legislation was published earlier today.

Teachta Nolan said:

"The Joint Oireachtas Report on Tackling Back to School Costs was published in 2013, making a number of key recommendations in this area, yet little has been done to address spiralling back to school costs that are crippling low and middle income families.

"I welcome the publication of the general scheme of the new legislation to establish a parent and student charter and I firmly believe that school costs must be a key element of the debate on this proposed legislation.

"Parents and students have waited much too long for this issue to be addressed and the Minister must make a commitment to finally sort it out. Costs such as books, uniforms and voluntary contributions put parents under pressure every year.

"It is not good enough to leave it to the discretion of schools, guidelines must be in place that will ensure that education is affordable and schools must be adequately resourced to provide an equal standard of education to every child regardless of their income.

"Of course the Minister does not need to wait for the new legislation to do this and the legislative process must not be used as an excuse for further delay on the part of the Minister to take responsibility for this issue.

"Nevertheless Sinn Féin welcomes this opportunity to ensure that the rights of students and parents are underpinned by legislation and we will push hard to ensure that school costs are addressed and schools are fully equipped to give effect to the new charter."

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