06 December, 2007 - Extra investment in teachers, classrooms, school funding & higher education - Minister Hanafin

"Extra investment of more than €690 million in education next year will enable us to put about 1,200 extra teachers in place, to deliver improvements in school buildings, and to increase day-to-day funding for schools" Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin T.D. said today. "It will also allow for significant improvements in funding for higher education."   
 
Overall, more than €9.3 billion will be invested in education at all levels next year.
 
Key measures to be supported by this funding include -
 
€600m for School Building ProjectsWith an extra €95 million for primary school buildings, investment in the school building programme will reach almost €600million in 2008. 
 
This will enable The completion of construction of up to 200 projects currently underway to deliver 8,000 additional school places; The rollout to construction of a further 350 projects over the next 15 months to provide another 12,000 additional places The purchase of sites, particularly in rapidly developing areas; and The progression of projects through the architectural planning and design stages which can then go to construction in later years. The provision of €4.5billion for school building projects under the National Development Plan will ensure that there is a continuous rollout of projects across the country in the coming years.
 
According to Minister Hanafin "while there will continue to be a focus next year on providing extra places in developing areas, we will also be delivering improvements in the quality of existing school accommodation throughout the country. With 3,500 small projects having been completed in the past few years, the emphasis in 2008 will be on new schools, extensions and major refurbishments to deliver the most places."
 
Planning for 1,200 More Teachers In 2008Expenditure on teachers' pay and pensions will increase by over €380million next year to €4.6billion. This will cover the cost of approximately 1,100 extra primary and post primary teachers that have been put in place this year.  We are also planning for an additional 1,200 teachers for the next school year.
 
€1.7billion targeted at Special Needs and Disadvantage programmes Investment in special education will increase by €80 million next year to €900million. This will cover the cost of The 17,000 staff already working in the area of special education;  A further 900 staff to be put in place next year; Over 275 special classes for children with autism; An increase in number of NEPS psychologist's to 169 in the coming year; and Investment in training for special education training for teachers. More than €800million will be targeted at combating educational disadvantage at all levels. Minister Hanafin said "this will support a wide range of valuable services - including pre-school interventions, early literacy initiatives, and measures to improve school attendance and tackle early school leaving." It will also allow for a significant increase in access to 'second chance education' said Minister of State Séan Haughey T.D. "with 100 extra places in Youthreach, 500 more in the Back to Education Initiatives and 500 more adult literacy places. This will bring the number of places in the main Further and Adult Education programmes to over 65,000."Day to Day Funding Increases For Schools
 
Day-to-funding for primary schools will increase by €21 to €330 per pupil. As a result, a primary school with 300 pupils will receive almost €100,000 to meet their running costs.
 
Second level schools will benefit from an extra €20 per student in day-to-day funding, with voluntary schools receiving €535 per student.There is also a €10 per student increase in equalisation measures for voluntary secondary schools. A typical 500 student secondary school will get almost €268,000 to meet day to day running costs.
 
The budget for school transport will increase by 6% to over €175million which ensures that over 135,000 pupils are transported to schools throughout the country, including some 8,000 pupils with special educational needs.

Funding for Higher Education will reach almost €1.9bn in 2008.Increased investment in higher education will build on the significant improvements in support for our universities and institutes of technology in recent years. Capital investment in the higher education colleges will increase by more than 20%, to €190 million, while core funding for Universities and Institutes of Technology will increase by €61million. Funding the full year costs of the improvements made this year in third level maintenance grants is provided for with a 9% increase.€40million is allocated to the Strategic Innovation Fund, while an additional €12million is being provided for research in third level institutions to enable the continued roll out of the Strategy for Science Technology and Innovation.
 
Minister Hanafin said "the major investment across all sectors of our education system will enable us to continue to enhance the services being provided to around one million students throughout the country. The fact that the education sector is such a major employer is reflected in the reality that the greatest portion of our €9.3billion funding is devoted to delivering frontline services each and every day."ENDS