Education is the most powerful gift we can give children. Investing in education, especially at pre-primary and primary levels, unlocks a child’s potential, offsets the impact of poverty and creates a level playing field. Every child should have a chance to reach their potential.

Free Primary Education

Barnardos has long been calling for Children’s Constitutional right to genuinely free primary education to be fully upheld. This would help tackle child poverty, ease a significant burden on parents and ensure all children are given the best start in life.

Barnardos’ School Costs Survey results year on year makes it clear our current education system is far from free and the ongoing lack of investment in education means parents have to fund school books, classroom resources, voluntary contributions and bus passes (among other costs). The lack of national guidelines mean there is huge variation depending on where you live and which school you attend.

Supporting children at primary level yields tremendous dividends in children’s educational attainment and future chance in life. It is the ultimate foundation stone from which to build upon.

Educational Disadvantage

All children should have access to the supports they need to succeed in education. These supports should not be dependent on where a child lives or their parent’s ability to pay, but rather on the child’s needs. Timely and appropriate interventions and supports should be available across the country for all children that need them.

Read Barnardos submission on barriers to education facing vulnerable groups