€15 million to be made available over three years to primary schools who do not currently have book rental schemes
The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today revealed plans to ensure that every primary school in the country has a book rental scheme in operation.
These plans are aimed at reducing school expenses for parents and form part of Minister Quinn’s wider agenda to tackle high costs associated with school.
As part of Budget 2014, Minister Quinn announced that he had secured €15 million to support the establishment of book rental schemes in primary schools which do not currently operate them. This money is to be used as seed capital to allow primary schools to set up such book loan schemes.
The Department of Education and Skills asked all primary schools in October last if they operated a book rental scheme. More than 80 per cent indicated they have a book rental scheme in operation.
Speaking at Presentation Primary School in Warrenmount, Dublin 8, the Minister commended the schools, such as Warrenmount, which already have such schemes in place.
“I am delighted to see that so many of our primary schools have taken the initiative to establish book rental schemes. They are already helping parents to drive down the cost of books,” he said.
“The funds that I have secured will now be directed towards those schools who have not yet set up such schemes so that all parents, no matter where their children go to school, have an opportunity to reduce the costs of going to school.”
Schools are now being invited by letter to apply for a grant to establish book rental schemes, subject to the criteria set out below. The deadline for applications is the 31st of January.
It is expected that qualifying DEIS (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) schools will receive €150 per child over three years, while non-DEIS schools will receive €100 per child.
Schools will be informed by the end of Spring on the outcome of their application and grants are expected to be made available by May to give schools ample time to purchase textbooks and set up the rental schemes in time for the new school year.
The DES published “Guidelines for Developing Textbook Rental Schemes in Schools” in January 2013 as a toolkit for schools. Schools which operate such schemes can save parents up to 80 per cent of the cost of buying new books.
Minister Quinn concluded, “It is my aim to ensure that every primary school in the country has a book rental scheme. Therefore, I’m targeting schools with no schemes initially as to include all primary schools would mean that the funding would be so diluted that it would have little impact. But, should more funds become available I would like to extend the grants to others.”
The Department will continue to provide a book grant to all primary schools. This grant, which provided €7 million to primary schools in 2013, can be used to update or expand existing book rental schemes.
Notes for Editors:
The eligibility criteria for funding under the Seed Capital Grant Scheme for Book Loan/Rental Schemes is as follows:
(a) The school authorities must undertake to establish a textbook loan/rental scheme (covering either hard copy or electronic books) for the main textbooks used by the students in accordance with best practice contained in the Guidelines for Developing TextbookRental Schemes in Schools for a minimum of 5 years. A book loan/rental scheme will normally have to achieve a life of approximately five years for each textbook, for it to break even.
(b) The school must confirm that it did not operate a school textbook loan/rental scheme in the school year 2013/14.
(c) The school must agree to maintain and furnish financial and other records regarding the establishment, maintenance and operation of the textbook loan/rental scheme to the Department, on request. All funding provided will be used exclusively for the purposes of establishing a textbook loan/rental scheme.
Existing funding provided to schools for books:
The book grant is paid to all recognised primary schools and all post-primary schools within the Free Education Scheme, with DEIS schools receiving an enhanced rate. It is paid in June each year for the following school year. For both 2012 and 2013, €15 million was ring-fenced for the programme.
Book Grants to Schools for 2012 and for 2013
Rate per capita*
Post-primary Schools in the Free Scheme
Rate per capita
* A minimum grant is paid to small primary schools based on an enrolment of 60 pupils