- 2260 additional primary and post-primary teachers in 2016
- Smaller class sizes in primary schools
- New round of summer works and minor works grants
- €10m in funding to drive apprenticeship programme
- Increases to supports for disadvantaged students in higher education
The education budget will see €144m in additional investment next year allowing for a number of positive initiatives that will benefit students, teachers and young job seekers according to Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan, TD.
“My priority for additional investment has been to see smaller classes introduced at primary level and I am pleased that Budget 2016 will deliver this important measure. From next September average class sizes will decrease from 28:1 to 27:1. This positive development will require approximately 300 additional teaching posts.”
“550 additional teachers will also be provided mainly at post-primary level.
“250 posts will also be used to enhance the role of deputy principals at post-primary level in schools with less than 500 students and to assist teaching principals at primary level. Strengthening leadership in schools is a serious issue and part of this allocation will allow deputy principals to reduce their teaching time and focus on leadership and management. It will also provide additional release days to teaching principals in primary schools. This is positive news for school leadership.”
“Improving guidance counselling support in post primary schools will be a priority for the remaining additional posts.”
In total 2260 additional teachers will be provided in primary and post-primary schools. This consists of:
- 300 teachers at primary level to reduce class sizes
- 550 teachers, mainly at post-primary level, to enhance guidance counselling and school leadership
- 810 mainstream teachers to address demographic demand
- 600 resource teachers to address demographic demand
Minister O’Sullivan also announced the payment of a minor works grant in 2015 and the beginning of a new €80m two year summer works programme. “These direct funding schemes are very important for schools. A minor works grant will be paid to schools in November and €28.5m will be invested in this scheme. Schools will also be invited to apply for a new summer works scheme which will commence next year. The scheme will see €80m invested in enhancing schools between 2016 and 2017 – half of this amount in each year.”
Minister O’Sullivan also announced that the allocation for apprenticeships from within the National Training Fund is being increased by more than €10m. “Apprenticeships offer a high quality career path for young people leaving school. The apprenticeship model, which up until now was largely focused on the construction trades, is now being expanded into 25 new career sectors such as financial services, travel and tourism and hospitality. These new apprenticeships will come on stream in 2016 and the expansion into these new areas and new registrations into existing areas will be supported by this additional €10.5m in funding.”
Among the other key education measures in Budget 2016 are:
- €2m is being made available to develop Technological Universities in Dublin, Munster and the South-East.
- €3m is being made available to invest in the student assistance fund, and more generally for supporting disadvantaged students. Detail on the exact allocation of this sum will follow in the Spring.
- €3m increase in literacy and numeracy strategy funding – up to €17m
- €8m increase in funding for junior cycle reform – up to €17m
- €2.5m investment in 2016 in Music Generation programme, a €1m increase
- €2.5m increase in broadband provision at post-primary – up to €9m
- €5m available in capital funding in 2016 for book rental programmes, on top of the €15m grants already provided to schools each year
- €43m to implement the Lansdowne Road Agreement
“Education is the most important investment we can make. This year, with the support of my colleague Brendan Howlin, I have secured the largest investment in education in recent years. This funding will drive reform, provide a better learning environment for students and teachers and provide additional supports at higher level.
“There is challenging agenda of reform and renewal in education and delivering this will be vital to the future of our country over the next decade. This Budget builds on the renewed education investment begun last year. It is a positive Budget for the education sector. Over the coming years additional investment will be required to achieve an education system fit for the 21st century. Today is proof that this Government is prepared to make that investment, now and into the future,” concluded Minister O’Sullivan.