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File image of Education Minister Norma Foley. Alamy Stock Photo
norma foley

Education minister says no parent can be compelled to pay voluntary contribution to school

Minister Norma Foley said more money is being directed towards education than ever before.

EDUCATION MINISTER NORMA Foley has said no parent can be compelled to pay a voluntary contribution to a school.

Foley was speaking at an event to mark the Government’s €53 million scheme for free books for primary pupils from September.

Asked by reporters about the separate cost burden of voluntary contributions on families, the minister said she is conscious of the financial load on parents and guardians.

“I want to be very clear in terms of voluntary contributions: No parent can be compelled to make a voluntary contribution to the school.”

She said this is provided for under the Education Act and parents cannot be charged for any provision of education laid down by the curriculum.

“We’re asking schools also be mindful – no parents, no guardian can be compelled to make a contribution.”

Asked if she will call on boards of management to ban voluntary contributions, Foley said Government funding for education has increased by €1.5 billion over the last three years.

“We have recognised the difficulties for schools. We have increased by €90 million in terms of funding to provide for energy costs and all of that, but I am saying to please be cognisant of the burdens that are placed on (parents and guardians).”

Asked if it is the Government’s ambition to ensure schools are given sufficient funding so they do not have to seek voluntary contributions, Foley said: “There has never been as much money going into education as we have going in presently.

“I don’t underestimate the challenge that schools are facing.”

She said any school with an individual funding issue can contact the Department of Education directly.

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