30 November, 2020 – Minister Foley announces €50m ICT grant funding for all primary and post-primary schools

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD today (Monday 30 November) announced €50 million in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Grants for primary and post-primary schools to be paid in early December, 2020.

The €50 million payments involve:

  • €40m ICT Grant funding issued to all eligible schools in line with previous years, to support the embedding of the use of digital technologies in teaching and learning
  • €10m for measures to provide for the continuity of teaching and learning using digital technology

The Department’s capital budget was increased in 2020 to facilitate the payment of these grants in December 2020.  

Minister Foley said: “This funding, including €10m for Covid-19 specific measures, will allow schools to put in place robust systems to enable the use of digital technologies within the school, and also provide for remote learning. Those measures can include the purchase of digital devices to loan to students and teachers, software, essential learning platforms and other ICT solutions as determined by the needs of the individual school. It will be paid on an automatic basis to every recognised school in the country.

 

“There is little doubt that the potential and importance of digital learning and the use of digital technologies has come into sharper focus in light of recent experiences. Digital learning is an essential component of a modern curriculum, and this funding will help schools to equip their students with the skills and competencies they will need to thrive. 

 

“This year’s extended period of school closure has served to underscore the immense value of education and its power in our children and young people’s lives. Investment in education is one of this government’s top priorities.  I am delighted to announce this funding today to assist schools to support their digital technology programmes, as well as broader teaching and learning.”

 

Notes to the Editor

 

This funding is the final tranche of the overall package of funding (€210m) for ICT infrastructure as provided for under the Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020. €160m has already issued, including €50m issued earlier this year in respect of the 2019-2020 school year. These grants will issue automatically to all schools during the first week in December.

 

Rates of payment

Schools opened prior to the 2017 calendar year or in school buildings built prior to the 2017 calendar year, are eligible for all of this funding, including the €10m top up funding. Schools opened or in buildings delivered from 2017 on receive grants from the €10m top up funding only, as new schools and new school buildings receive once-off ICT equipment funding as part of the Furniture and Equipment grant.

 

Fee charging schools receive funding at 50% rate from the €40m in funding.

 

The €10m top up funding issues as a lump sum based on school size, and will issue with the €40m ICT Grant so eligible schools will receive one payment to their accounts only.

 

Strand 1 - €40 million

 

Primary and Special Primary Schools

 

Indicative   Grant Figures

Pupil   Numbers

Lump   sum

Per   capita

Total

DEIS

DEIS   Total

10

€2,000

€303

€2,303

€332.75

€2,332.75

50

€2,000

€1,513

€3,513

€1,663.75

€3,663.75

100

€2,000

€3,025

€5,025

€3,327.50

€5,327.50

500

€2,000

€15,125

€17,125

€16,637.50

€18,637.50

1000

€2,000

€30,250

€32,250

€33,275.00

€35,275.00

 

 Post-Primary Schools

 

Indicative   Grant Figures

Pupil   Numbers

Lump   sum

Per   capita

Total

DEIS

DEIS   Total

50

€2,000

€2,162.88

€4,162.875

€2,379.16

€4,379.16

100

€2,000

€4,325.75

€6,325.75

€4,758.33

€6,758.33

500

€2,000

€21,628.75

€23,628.75

€23,791.63

€25,791.63

1000

€2,000

€43,257.5

€45,257.5

€47,583.25

€49,583.25

 

 Strand 2 - €10 million Top up rates

 

Primary and Special Primary Schools

 

Enrolment   Roles

 

Non-DEIS   rate

DEIS Rate

≤99

€550

€600

100-249

€950

€1,000

250-499

€1,400

€1,500

500-749

€1,900

€2,100

750 plus

€2,700

€3,000

Post-Primary Schools

 

Enrolment   Roles

 

Non-DEIS   rate

DEIS Rate

≤249

€2,600

€2,900

250-499

€7,100

€7,900

500-749

€13,250

€14,600

750 plus

€17,300

€19,100

 

Broadly speaking, the grants allow for:

 

  • continuity of learning which must be supported in all schools. The top up €10m also provides ICT funding for new schools/new builds, as that category is excluded from the €40m funding (per the terms outlined in the ICT circular).
  • schools to implement the new ICT circular which requires all school to have a digital learning platform for contingency reasons. This will be likely to require more funding at primary level given that all post-primary schools have platforms in place and are at a more advanced stage of development in this area.
  • to provide an additional top-up for DEIS schools to meet additional challenges to support their learners
  • There have been a number of government strategies and initiatives over the last two decades to encourage and promote the effective use of digital technologies in teaching and learning. The Department of Education’s current policy in this area is reflected in the Digital Strategy for Schools, Enhancing Teaching, Learning and Assessment 2015-2020 which is in its final year of implementation. The strategy promotes the embedding of digital technologies in all classroom and school activity so that the use of digital technology becomes a seamless part of the whole education experience
  • This strategy builds on previous strategies and incorporates education reform over recent years. Its aim is to help young people become active learners and supports the development of 21st Century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication and digital literacy.
  • The strategy is built around four themes: Teaching, Learning and Assessment using ICT; Teacher Professional Development;Leadership, Research and Policy; ICT Infrastructure and sets out a programme to embed digital technologies in the learning experience of our pupils/students in primary and post-primary schools.
  • Schools opened prior to the 2017 calendar year or in school buildings built prior to the 2017 calendar year, are eligible for all of this funding, including the €10m top up funding. Schools opened or in buildings delivered from 2017 on receive grants from the €10m top up funding only.

This is because new schools and new school buildings receive one-off ICT equipment grant as part of the Furniture and Equipment funding provided to new schools/new builds.

  • Fee charging schools receive funding at a rate of 50 per cent rate from the €40m in funding, but do not receive grants under the €10m top up funding, as the latter is intended to support Covid-specific interventions, in particular where disadvantage may be a barrier to accessing remote learning.