Bishops and CORI joint statement on the Budget and education provision
We are dismayed that the Budget for education hurts the most vulnerable people in society. In particular we wish to highlight:
- Book Grants – the Book Grant is abolished for all schools not in the DEIS (Delivery for Equality of Opportunity for Schools) scheme for disadvantaged schools. As a consequence many disadvantaged children not in DEIS schools will have to do without the most basic educational resource: books.
- Traveller Grant – the total grant allocation for travellers is being reduced by 50% for the year 2009/2010 and will only be paid to DEIS schools. As a consequence, children of the travelling community will experience cutbacks in the resources that afford them equal opportunity in the education system, resources which help them secure an equitable future in our society.
- Language Teachers – the imposition of a cap on the allocation of language support teachers discriminates against the most vulnerable – the newcomers in our schools who do not speak English.
- Leaving Certificate Applied Grant – This grant will be abolished from 2009/2010 onwards. Due to this decision, many of the most materially and academically vulnerable will now lose out on the only accessible route they have to the Leaving Certificate. In the absence of this grant schools will struggle to provide the programme which inevitably will have to be curtailed and some students will be in danger of falling through the system.
In the Bishops’ pastoral letter of May this year, Vision 08, it was stated that in Catholic schools, pupils “… who are educationally disadvantaged and those with special needs are actively supported in achieving their full potential. This demands additional resources.”
We call on the Government to revisit this Budget, bearing in mind that it is education that guarantees the future of the nation. It is how we deal with the most vulnerable that defines our society. We urge policymakers to be mindful that the educational outcome for our young people is in direct proportion to the support we give those who teach in our schools and those who manage them.
For further information please call:
Director of the Catholic Communications Office Martin Long on 086 1727678