We use a third party provider, MailChimp, to deliver our communications. You can change your email preferences or unsubscribe at any time by clicking on the ‘manage your preferences’ link at the end of each communication. For information about how we handle your data, please read our privacy statement.
Barnardos strongly supports the call from the Catholic Primary School Management Association for restoration of capitation grants to schools back to 2010 levels. Every year through our school costs survey we hear from parents who are stressed, annoyed and over-burdened by having to prop up the school system. Parents tell us about having to forgo bills, cut back on daily expenses or even go into debt to cover the costs associated with sending their children to Ireland's 'free' primary education system. It affects so many families, not just those on low incomes.
"The cost each year is spiralling ever higher, forcing our family to go to the credit union to cover it as we are entitled to no assistance and expected to pay fully for everything, which is very hard to do as it gets dearer and dearer" - parent responding to Barnardos School Costs Survey 2017
June Tinsley, Head of Advocacy, Barnardos said: "Free education is a myth. We know schools face significant shortfalls due to the drop in capitation rates over the last decade and they in turn are forced to pass this shortfall onto parents to fulfil. The request for voluntary contributions remains a constant feature as does expecting parents to pay for all classroom resources and art supplies. Why do parents have to pay to provide the basics and ensure all children have what they need to learn the curriculum?
"Our 2017 survey saw a drop in the number of parents being asking for voluntary contributions but there was an increase in requests for classroom resource contributions - 83% of primary school parents surveyed reported paying resource fees to cover things like photocopying costs, art materials etc.
"We have repeatedly called on the Government to commit to providing truly free education, to ensure all children have what they need to learn the curriculum. For an additional €103.2m annually they could guarantee that every child's constitutional right to a free primary education is fulfilled. This minimal investment would reap dividends for the child ensuring a level playing field for all children and ease considerable pressure of parents. Unfortunately, it is clear that children are not a political priority, we need to ensure that all children are supported to fulfil their potential and that no child is LOST to an underfunded or under resourced education system."
Notes to editors:
Every year, Barnardos conducts a School Costs Survey which gives parents the opportunity to share their spending on back to school costs. In 2017 over 1,800 parents took the survey. 2017 results can be found here.
Barnardos LOST Childhood campaign is calling on Government, parents and the public to prioritise children and to drive the change that is needed to give every child in Ireland a chance to reach their full potential see Barnardos.ie/lost for more information.