Significant additional funding for the Education budget will ensure 1,700 new teachers and SNAs will be employed during 2015.
An additional €60m will be invested in the education budget (current) compared to the allocation for 2014 to meet growing numbers of children starting school. This funding will help provide for 900 new classroom teachers, 480 new resource teachers and 365 new Special Needs Assistant posts.
According to Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, “My priority in this budget was to secure additional funding to maintain class sizes and ensure that the education system can recruit more permanent teachers. 1,700 new teachers and SNAs are provided for in this Budget and these additional posts will ensure that we can provide the expanding numbers of children at school with the education they deserve.”
The Minister also highlighted funding dedicated to continuing the reform agenda in education with the following investments being made in 2015:
- Literacy and numeracy strategy €6m additional on 2014 investment, bringing the annual budget to €13.8
- Junior cycle reform €5m additional on 2014 investment, bringing the annual budget to €9.3m
- Music Generation €1m
- High Speed Broadband €3m
- New pre-school inspectors €0.6m
“I am particularly pleased that this Budget will allow for the immediate recruitment of a new team of early childhood education inspectors. The new team will work with the early childhood sector to promote and enhance good educational practice. This initiative is being launched in partnership with the Minister for Children, Dr. James Reilly and I appreciate his support for this reforming measure.”
€5m will be invested in capital funding as part of the planned three year €15m investment to extend book rental schemes to cover all primary schools, resulting in lower back to school costs for families.
Minister O’Sullivan also announced that she is restoring €25m in funding to the Higher Education Institutions which had to be withheld for the past two years.
Three major capital projects in Irish universities will benefit from €20m of funding in 2015. These are a major library project at the University of Limerick (€10m), a new Human Biology Building at NUI Galway (€7m) and construction of the Confucius Institute at University College, Dublin (€3m).
€10m will be invested in 2015 to improve the facilities and equipment available to students in Institutes of Technology.
The coming year will also see the implementation of the final phase of three previously announced savings initiatives - the €250 increase in the student contribution, the final 1% reduction in pay and non-pay funding for third level sector and a planned 1% reduction in capitation payments in schools and further education.
Minister O’Sullivan said, “This Budget is set against the background of an improving economic situation. I fully appreciate the sacrifices that all education partners have made in recent years and their commitment to provide quality education against a very difficult financial backdrop and continuing upward demographic pressures.
“This Budget will see the final phase of measures required to produce necessary savings in recent years and it is my intention that the improving economic situation will pay a very real dividend to education, an investment that has enormous economic and social benefits.
“Budget 2015 is a start in that process. Additional funding has been provided, new permanent teaching posts have been secured and momentum is maintained behind the reform agenda. These are positive developments that will be built upon in the coming Budgets.”
“In recent weeks I have had a positive engagement with all the partners in education. At these meetings the partners have been setting out their views on priorities for future investment. I plan to continue this dialogue with partners to assist me in establishing a framework of priorities in the sector.”
Note for editors:
Of the 365 new SNA posts 145 will be in place by the end of 2014 and 220 posts will follow in 2015.
Further information on all of the Budget measures in Education is available here - Department of Education and Skills: Main Estimate Features