The estimated cost of increasing the capitation grant at primary and secondary level by 5% is provided in the following table:
Estimated full year cost of 5% increase in capitation funding
Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade. In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion. Through budget 2017 and Budget 2018, we are now investing €1 billion more in education.
I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years. The first cuts to capitation were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance. Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions I have included in the Action Plan for Education.
The process is under way for restoring grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff. The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation. A similar type approach in relation to improvements in grant funding was applied, as appropriate, at post-primary level.