Thursday, 28 September 2023
Department of Education and Skills
Earlier this year, I announced a landmark new scheme which saw the government investing over €50 million to providing free schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks for pupils.
More than 558,000 pupils enrolled in approximately 3,230 primary schools, including over 130 special schools, will benefit from the new scheme this year.
Detailed guidance for primary schools on the scheme was published and issued to all recognised primary schools and special schools in March 2023.
The investment in this scheme significantly increases the funding for schoolbooks provided to date to all recognised primary schools in the country.
The primary school book grant funding for the 2023/24 academic year was paid directly to all recognised primary and special schools in April, to allow schools implement the scheme in time for the start of the 2023/24 school year.
By providing the funding directly to schools, schools have discretion as to how the funding is used on the basis that, at a minimum, it eliminates the costs of schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks for parents. Schools therefore, continue to have the autonomy to choose books and related classroom resources to meet their needs.
As the funding issued under this scheme is processed by way of grant funding to schools as outlined above, the funding is categorised, by My Department, as current expenditure.
A full evaluation of the first year of implementation of the scheme will be undertaken in consultation with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, to inform the guidance, implementation, costs and efficiency of the scheme for future years.
176. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills to outline the total expenditure in 2023 on payment of funding to be allocated to schools to provide assistance for books for post primary DEIS and non-DEIS schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [41934/23]
My Department provides a book grant to all recognised post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books including Book Rental Schemes. Under this scheme, my Department provided funding of €4 million to DEIS post primary schools and €6.6 million to non-DEIS post primary schools in 2023.