Education Minister publishes report into the income available to fee charging schools

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today (Tuesday 5th March) published a report into the discretionary income available to the 55 fee charging schools in the country.

“Fee Charging Schools – Analysis of Fee Income” was compiled by the Department based on data provided during 2012 by the schools concerned.

In December 2011, as part of the Budget, Minister Quinn announced that an analysis of fee income in the 55 fee charging schools would be carried out. This was in order to inform future policy decisions about the nature and extent of exchequer funding provided to fee charging schools.

The report published today is an analysis of the funding position of the 55 schools which charge fees; it is not an audit. It shows the funds available to these schools through charging fees, which are not available to secondary schools in the Free Scheme.

Information was sought from the 55 schools and was accepted by the Department as submitted. It was not subject to audit or verification. Participation was voluntary for the schools concerned and it was a matter for each school to decide what information the school would share with the Department in relation to how it utilises fee income.

The information received is presented in the report in an aggregate way and individual schools have not been identified.

The report uses the term “discretionary income” to describe the funds available to the schools which charge fees. This figure has been calculated based on the fees charged in each school, less repayments on capital loans, uncollected fees and fee discounts. It also takes into account the exchequer funding (such as capitation rates) and teacher posts foregone as a result of the school being fee charging.

The average discretionary income per fee charging school is €1.48 million. This funding allows them to privately recruit additional subject teachers and extra ancillary staff or invest in capital improvements and extra curricular activities.

The report shows that there are a range of funds available within the fee paying sector from schools with significant discretionary income to those who have a much lower amount.

Such splits are in evidence across both the Protestant and other ethos fee charging schools.

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