‘Shocking’ reduction in funding for Schools’ Summer Programme will impact most vulnerable children


Wednesday 12 June 2024

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Press releases

‘Shocking’ reduction in funding for Schools’ Summer Programme will impact most vulnerable children

The ASTI has expressed its dismay at the decision to reduce funding for schools providing Summer Programme education for vulnerable students, including students with complex special needs and those experiencing educational disadvantage.

The Department of Education has confirmed that a capitation grant of €30 per student is available to schools under the 2024 Scheme, compared to €45 in 2023. This represents a 33% cut in funding for schools.

ASTI General Secretary Kieran Christie described the cut as shocking:

“In March of this year, with considerable fanfare, Minister Norma Foley and then Minister of State Josepha Madigan issued a press statement encouraging all schools to participate in the 2024 Summer Programme.

“They announced that all schools would have an opportunity to run a programme over the summer months, so that children with complex special educational needs and those at greatest risk of educational disadvantage can be supported, nurtured and encouraged to continue to engage in fun and inclusive learning.

“However, the ASTI has learned that at the same time that the Department was stating its goal was to maximise the number of schools and children participating in the Programme, the grant to schools was being cut.”

Mr Christie said the Post-Primary Summer Programme, which has been in operation for the last number of years, provides immeasurable benefits to students with additional needs and educational disadvantage.

“This cut to funding affects the most vulnerable students in our education system. This is shocking and grossly unfair,” said the ASTI General Secretary.

“This cut is meanspirited and harks back to the period of austerity that we all thought we had put behind us in recent years. It seems the austerity mindset remains.”

The ASTI is calling on the Minister for Education Norma Foley and the Minister of State with Responsibility for Special Education and Inclusion Hildegarde Naughton to reverse this extraordinary act of parsimony, even at this late juncture.”


Further information:

Extract from Department of Education Press Release issued 21st March 2024

Notes to Editor

Post-Primary Scheme

The Post-Primary Scheme can run for two weeks anytime during the school summer holidays.

Schools can form groups of up to 12 students supported by one teacher and one SNA. This year, the limit on the number of groups based on school size has been removed.

However, if groups primarily consist of pupils from special classes then sizes of the groups can be adjusted accordingly to be more reflective of pupil:teacher ratios utilised in the normal school year.

For example, groups can consist of up to six students with complex needs with other remaining places being allocated to students at risk of educational disadvantage.

The Post-Primary Scheme also offers an opportunity for schools to address the needs of migrant students such as addressing English language skills and integration, including students from Ukraine and other countries.

If there are more than six students with complex special educational needs in a group, schools can apply to the department for additional resources.

Schools can also apply for additional SNA support to ensure participating students have similar SNA support to what they receive during the school year.

To do so or to appeal any aspect of the resource allocation granted to their school, schools can email [email protected] or contact the department’s helpline on 09064 84292.

Click here to view full Department of Education Press Release issued 21st March 2024.

ASTI press statement issued by Gemma Tuffy, Media & Communications Official. Tel: 01/6040172; Email: [email protected]

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