28 November 2016 - Minister Bruton announces improved supports to facilitate the smooth establishment of new primary and post-primary schools

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., today announced improved supports to facilitate the smooth establishment of new primary and post-primary schools.

The first element of the improved supports involves new schools being permitted to appoint a school principal from an earlier stage in order to better facilitate the preparatory work involved in setting up a new school. 

It is envisaged that the earlier timeline for the appointment of a School Principal in a new school will operate as follows:

For new schools opening in September 2017Department approval will be given in early 2017 for appointment of a School Principal in tandem with the announcement on patronage for the 3 new primary schools that are due to open in September 2017Department approval is now being given for the recruitment of school principals for the 6 new post-primary schools that are opening in September 2017
For new schools opening in September 2018 and onwardsDepartment approval to be given for appointment of a School Principal from 1 January of the year that the school opens (i.e. 1 January 2018 for new primary schools opening in September 2018 etc.)Department approval to be given for appointment of a School Principal from 1 September of the previous school year (i.e. 1 September 2017 for new post-primary schools opening in September 2018)

The second element of the improved support is the payment of pre-opening capitation funding for each new primary and post-primary school in recognition of the fact that costs are incurred in the period prior to opening a new school.  This funding of €15,000 at primary level and €25,000 at post-primary level will be made available to the Patron to hold on behalf of the newly recognised school. The Patron will be entitled to seek reimbursement of post recognition start-up costs incurred by it but will ultimately be required to provide details of such costs and any remaining balance to the board of management of the new school when it is established.

Minister Bruton stated “You can’t achieve a prosperous economy without a fair society, and you can’t support a compassionate society without a strong economy. Investment in education is a prime way to grow our society and economy together. Investing in educating improves human capital, ensuring that all our people have opportunities to achieve their potential, as well as generating wider benefits for our economy.New schools involve a significant investment by the State.  It is important that supports are in place to ensure the smooth establishment of the new schools.  The improved supports that are being announced today are a very significant step in this regard”.

Patrons of new schools will be notified directly by the Department in relation to these improved supports. 


Notes for Editors:

The improved supports replace the existing scheme of funding for school management bodies involved in establishing new schools.   This scheme operated as follows:

Number of new primary schools that a school management body is involved in establishingAmount of additional funding provided to the school management body

School Principals

Under the current arrangements a school principal in a new school is appointed from 1 February at post-primary level and 1 June at primary level of the year that the school opens. The new arrangements involve a significant improvement on these timelines.

New schools

Since 2011 new schools are generally only established in areas of demographic growth.  The Department uses a Geographical Information System to identify the areas under increased demographic pressure nationwide. The system uses a range of data sources in carrying out nationwide demographic analyses to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary levels.  When it is decided that a new school is required to meet demographic needs in an area, the Department runs a separate patronage process to decide who will operate the school. The criteria used in relation to patronage of the new school place particular emphasis on parental demand for plurality and diversity of patronage, with parental preferences from the area to be served being central to the process. The patronage of 9 new post-primary schools to be established in September 2017 and September 2018 was announced on 3 November 2016.  The patronage of 3 new primary schools to be established in September 2017 and 1 new primary school to be established in 2018 are is due to be announced in early 2017.

Grant funding for schools

The pre-opening capitation funding does not impact on the start-up grant or capitation funding that is provided directly to new schools.