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School Funding

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 3 December 2013

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Ceisteanna (119)

Seán Kyne

Ceist:

119. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views regarding VEC-funded schools and voluntary religious schools, whether VEC schools have a distinct advantage in terms of State funding to the detriment of voluntary religious schools; if he accepts that this is having a negative effect on schools being able to attract pupils equally particularly in areas which have schools in close proximity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51864/13]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The funding arrangements for post primary schools reflect the sectoral division of our second-level system. At the core of these arrangements is reliance upon capitation as the principal determinant of funding. The Department provides funding directly to voluntary secondary schools by way of per capita grants. However, grants for the day-to-day running costs of ETB schools and community colleges are issued to Education and Training Boards, not directly to schools, as part of a block grant. It is important to note that this block grant covers not only the day-to-day costs of schools but also the running costs of ETB head-offices and other activities apart from the second-level programme. Each ETB has a high level of autonomy in the management and appropriation of this grant and may distribute its allocations in line with its priorities and perceptions of need.

I am aware that the JMB's Pre-Budget Submission for 2012 suggested a difference of €212 in funding for each student attending a voluntary secondary school, in comparison to an ETB school or college. The Deputy should note that additional funding has been provided to voluntary secondary schools by way of "equalisation" measures since 2001. It is estimated that up to €21m has been provided in equalisation funding between 2001 and 2009. While the current economic situation has slowed progress in that regard, it remains the Department's aim, depending on resource availability, to addressing anomalies in funding between the post-primary sectors. I do not believe that the funding arrangements for schools has any major bearing on decisions made by parents as to which second level school they will enrol their children.

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