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Seven Fee Paying schools seeking to go public

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 16/09/2014. Seven Fee Paying schools seeking to go publicTags: Education And Politics Parenting

As discussions heat up over this years budget, the Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan, has told the Irish Times that there will be renewed discussions on private school fundiing.

In recent budgets, private fee-paying schools had been targeted with cuts through adjustments in the pupil-teacher ratio as part of the overall cuts in education. However these changes have forced several private schools to abandon their fees and so join the free education system, which is said to end up costing the state more.

Since these budgetary cuts, five former private schools have joined the free education system, and there are seven other schools ‘in discussions about doing likewise.’ (Irish Times)

The Joint Managerial Body (JMB) that represents 400 schools in Ireland is calling for a partial reversal to cuts in their pre-budget submission to the department. They argue that if these cuts are not reversed private schools will be forced into the states hands and that nobody wins, as ‘either the parents pay or the state does,’ The submission writes:

“There is no such thing as ‘free’ education – either the State pays or parents pay. Schools in the fee-charging sector, where parents pay more, save the State money. The widening gap in pupil-teacher ratio between schools in the free-scheme and those that are fee-charging must not be further increased as the inevitable outcome will be fiscally counterproductive on a significant scale.”

However, when asked by the Irish Times whether the state will be at risk in footing the bill for private schools turning public, Jan O'Sullivan said ‘ “I wouldn’t see it as a risk. If they choose to go in [to free education] for good reasons, then that is a positive thing because it does mean parents don’t have to pay fees.”


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