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350 new primary school teachers and over 1,000 new SNAs announced in Budget

Primary school class sizes are set to be reduced.

Image: Shutterstock

OVER 1,000 NEW special needs assistants (SNAs) and the creation of 350 new posts for primary school teachers have been announced as part of the budget.

The Government announced that 980 additional teachers and 1,165 additional SNAs will be hired specifically to support those with special educational needs in special classes, special schools and mainstream settings. 

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said this will bring investment in special education to the highest level in the State’s history.

Primary school class sizes are also set to be reduced thanks to the creation of the 350 teaching roles.

The move will see the pupil-teacher ratio drop by one point on average across all primary schools. Smaller primary classes was one of Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s election promises in 2020.

A total of €18 million has been allocated to expand the number of schools in the DEIS scheme and €4 million has been set aside to extend the hot school meals to more disadvantaged primary schools.

There will also be €50 million for information and communications technology (ICT) grants for primary and post-primary schools before the end of the year.

Grants for college students were also increased for the first time in 10 years. The maintenance grant payment for the student support scheme was increased by €200.

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The move comes following recent controversy surrounding third level students having to rely on food banks to make ends meet.

A total of €9.2 billion was allocated to the Department of Education for 2022, including a capital budget of €792 million.

The Government says this will support a school building programme which involves over 200 projects. Once completed, these projects are expected to deliver over 30,000 school places.

An additional investment of €68 million was also ear-marked for the Higher Education sector. Part of this funding will be used for 3,320 additional CAO places arising from this year’s Leaving Certificate.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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