Free school books for primary and special schools
I welcome todays announcement by Minister for Education Norma Foley TD and Minister for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan TD that the payment of over €50 million is being made to primary schools and special schools across the country this week to provide free schoolbooks to pupils within the free education scheme from September 2023.
This is a landmark funding package, secured in Budget 2023, and will see free schoolbooks provided in all primary schools and special schools, in a permanent measure designed to ease some of the financial burden facing families with back-to-school costs.
Buying schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks has been a significant cost for families. This move, to provide these items, at no cost to parents, is permanent and is one less worry in the present high cost of living.
I don’t believe there is a parent of a pupil in a primary or special school in the country who would disagree. I commend my Government colleagues for ensuring that this scheme is funded well in advance of the new school year. This allows for schools to prepare and provides peace of mind for parents well ahead of the next school year.
The scheme will benefit more than 558,000 pupils nationally in approximately 3,230 primary schools, including over 130 special schools.
Schools will receive €96 in respect of each pupil enrolled, with the scheme involving a total spend of €53,584,032.
Minister Foley said:
“While it is imperative that every child in Ireland has the resources required to access education, the Government recognises that back-to-school costs can be a source of financial difficulty for many families every year.
“Grant payments being made this week as part of this ground-breaking new scheme will mean that parents or guardians will no longer need to buy or rent schoolbooks, workbooks or copybooks for their children. Schools will now have the funding required to cover the costs of providing these items ahead of the start of the new school year, helping to ensure that every child has the same opportunity to access and reap the benefits of education.”
Minister Madigan said:
“By providing children with free schoolbooks, we are enhancing their educational experience not just in the classroom, but in their families and communities also. This is particularly true for our pupils in special schools and classes across the country. I am delighted to see the flexible delivery of this scheme, which empowers schools and class teachers to use the grant as best suits the needs of the classroom."
For more see gov.ie - Ministers Foley and Madigan announce the payment of grants to eliminate the costs of schoolbooks in primary schools and special schools (www.gov.ie)