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The government wants to reduce the cost of school uniforms for parents

The Action Plan for Education was launched yesterday.
Sep 16th 2016, 6:04 AM 15,428 84

THE GOVERNMENT PLANS to reduce the cost of school uniforms for parents, according to an education action plan it launched yesterday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Education Minister Richard Bruton and Junior Minister John Halligan launched the Action Plan for Education at St Brigid’s School in Dublin.

Included in the report is a commitment to “put a greater emphasis on reducing the cost of school uniforms and other costs”.

Last month, there were calls for schools to switch their uniform policies after a survey showed how expensive it was for parents to send their kids back to school.

A recent report found that nationally about 98% of parents of secondary school students and 87% of parents of primary school students send their children to schools that use a crested or school-branded uniform.

29/7/2014. Back to School Issues Uniforms Back to School section of Tesco. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

School uniform costs 

It costs about €800 to send a child to first year in secondary school and about €300 for a child going into junior infants.

Unbranded uniforms can be much cheaper and easier to source. However, despite this the vast majority of schools still require branded uniforms.

The department said a new circular will be sent to school authorities regarding school uniform policy.

The views of the National Parents Council and other education partners will feed into the development of the circular. This is to be sent either by the end of the year or in early 2017.

29/7/2014. Back to School Issues Uniforms Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Other cost-saving measures are also addressed in the action plan. For example, increased financial supports for book rental schemes are to be introduced “to reduce/eliminate book costs for parents”. This is to be completed by early next year.

However, this is subject to resources – namely, whether provisions will be made available in the Budget next month.

The report also includes a range of new commitments and targets for the education system – such as the roll-out of new subjects for junior and senior levels.

Multi-denominational schools 

The government has committed to the provision of 400 multi-denominational schools by 2030 and legislation to make school enrolments easier for children and their parents.

“We will revise protocols to ensure no small school closes against the wishes of parents and facilitate amalgamations where desirable,” states the report.

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The department also plans to implement a commitment made in the Programme for Government to increase the mandatory school age from 16 to 17 by next year.

By the end of 2016, a complete review of of ICT systems will be carried out in all schools. A total of 600 primary schools will be upgraded this year, with a total of 1,100 primary schools upgraded by the end of next year.

Money from all areas is being used to invest in the education system.

Dormant accounts fund

The Arts in Education Charter – which will see arts provision for children and young people in and out of school – is also to be introduced, according to the report.

This is subject to the drawdown of funds from the dormant accounts fund, which amounts to €8.8 million in 2016.

21/1/2013 Music Education The Edge and nine-year-old Siofra Marum from Portlaoise launching the Music Generation project in 2013 Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Music Education Partnership, known as Music Generation, is to be expanded by the end of 2017.

This project is co-funded by the Ireland Fund, the department and Irish band, U2.

Read: New school subjects roll-out: Kids to learn coding, Mandarin, computer science and politics>

Read: It was all smiles as Enda Kenny and John Halligan shared a stage together today>

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Christina Finn

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