Tuesday, 18 June 2019
Department of Education and Skills
213. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the qualifying criteria for post-primary Irish medium schools to be eligible to receive the Irish and bilingual grant of €103 per child; the schools in receipt of the grant; the reason the grant has not been approved for multi-denominational schools in the ETB, community and comprehensive sectors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25460/19]
The purpose of the Irish and Bilingual Grant is to provide funding to schools for instruction through the Irish Language.
The funding arrangements made by the Department for voluntary secondary, comprehensive & community and ETB schools and colleges reflect the different management and ownership arrangements that apply to schools at second level.
Voluntary secondary schools, in the Free Education scheme, which are privately owned and managed, are funded by way of per capita grants. These schools receive a grant in lieu of fees that had been levied prior to 1967. An additional per capita grant is paid to secondary schools in the voluntary sector in which instruction is through the medium of Irish in full or in part. The grant is not paid in either the Community & Comprehensive or the ETB sectors.
Financial allocations to the ETB sector are made on a budget basis in respect of head office and other costs, including those relating to schools. ETBs are given a high level of autonomy in the management and appropriation of their budgets and each ETB is allowed to distribute its allocations in line with its priorities and perceptions of need. Any funding issues for an individual school have to be managed from within the relevant ETB’s budget. The Department does not earmark funding allocations for individual schools in the ETB sector.
The Department’s Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022 aims to ensure the availability of a high quality and relevant Irish-medium educational experience for all young people living in Gaeltacht areas and in this way to support the use of Irish as the main language of families and of Gaeltacht communities. Under the terms of the Policy, additional teaching and/or other resources, including dedicated continuing professional development (CPD), will be made available to schools whose applications to participate in the Gaeltacht Schools’ recognition process are approved. It is envisaged that the allocation of resources will be on a staged incremental basis over a five-year period and will take account of the resources already allocated to each newly recognised Gaeltacht school in accordance with the language criteria set out in the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022.