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Parents paying for School Maintenance and Security

Posted by SchoolDays Newshound on 23/10/2013. Tags: Education And Politics Parenting Teacher News

text re imageDetails of a comprehensive study which was undertaken by the ESRI of educational governance and financing across the three different sectors of second-level schools in Ireland, namely, voluntary secondary schools, vocational schools, and community/comprehensive schools, has been published today

The research shows that voluntary secondary schools, which account for the majority of the State’s second-level pupils, are far more dependent on parental contributions than other types of school. Voluntary secondary schools make up 52 per cent of all second-level schools. Vocational schools comprise 35 per cent of schools and the community/comprehensive sector makes up 13 per cent.

The report by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), found "stark differences" among different types of schools about whether they asked for a contribution and the level sought. Parents of children in the 380 voluntary secondary schools are more likely to be asked for a payment and it is also likely to be higher than what is sought in the other sectors. More than four-in-five voluntary secondary schools (87pc) receive contributions, compared with 62pc of community and comprehensive schools and under half (49pc) of vocational schools. The report details what parents are being asked to pay, with almost one-in-three (31pc) of the non-fee paying voluntary schools seeking €150 a year, and one-in-five asking for €200 a year, or more.

The research found that “Over half of all schools use their income from parental contributions for school maintenance. Voluntary secondary schools are more likely to use this income to pay for secretarial services and security than other school types.”

The report also highlighted major differences in the mechanisms used to fund the three school sectors funded by Government, which it stated resulted in a lack of transparency, making it difficult to compare school funding on a like-with-like basis

The three school sectors are funded through different mechanisms:

* voluntary secondary schools receive per capita grants for their students from the Department of Education and Skills (DES);

* vocational schools receive State funding in the form of a 'block grant' which is allocated to Educational Training Boards (former Vocational Education Committees) that distribute funds to their schools;

* community/comprehensive schools negotiate a budget with the DES on an annual basis.

In summarising the policy implications of it’s findings, the ESRI makes the point that “the reliance of voluntary secondary schools on parental contributions puts them at a disadvantage in the context of the current recession. The future funding of second-level schools needs to take this into account.”

You can view the full ESRI Press Release here and the full ESRI Report can be downloaded here



(23-10-2013 12:46)

ASTI Press Release - 23/10/13 - ASTI unsurprised by research on parent contributions

The ASTI has said it is not surprised by research published today by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) that shows the majority of schools rely on voluntary contributions from parents.

The ESRI findings mirror research commissioned by the ASTI earlier this year. A survey of school principals carried out by Millward Browne in January and February 2013 found that 14% of schools had increased parents voluntary contributions in response to cuts to capitation funding. A further 23% of schools intended to do so in the coming year. Capitation funding has been cut by almost 9% since 2010. Another 1% cut is due to be implemented from January 2014.

If we want a quality education system, we have to resource schools adequately. Yet, schools are telling us that they do not even have the funds even to cover essential services and operating costs. As well as relying on parents to help with the financial burden, they have had to seek funding from other sources, cut student subsidies, and reduce extra-curricular activities.

Successive OECD Education at a Glance reports have demonstrated an under-investment in Irish education. The latest such report shows that investment in education as a proportion of public expenditure has declined significantly in Ireland since 2005 and at 9.7% is well below the OECD average of 13%. Below average investment in education and inadequate financial provision for schools is not the way to promote or to achieve a quality education system, ASTI General Secretary, Pat King said.

The ASTI is particularly concerned about the disadvantage at which voluntary secondary schools are placed due to the differential funding allocation system currently in place at second level. The report indicates that voluntary secondary schools are more likely than other schools to seek supplementary funding from parents to meet running costs. This potential inequality needs to be addressed to avoid placing certain schools at a disadvantage and to safeguard equality in education, Mr King concluded.

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