Conversations between teachers and parents should be about education – not money

04 October 2022

Labour education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has demanded government revisit the education measures announced in last week’s Budget and make education genuinely free.

Responding to a survey published by the CSO today, Deputy Ó Ríordáin said the cost of living crisis is compounding financial strain for families with children in school.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“This research is published by the CSO in the same week that we see Ireland at the bottom of the ranking for education spend per GDP. There is no ambition to make education genuinely free in this country. It’s not about political point scoring, it’s about ensuring that children have a fair shot at education and helping struggling parents who are doing their best.

“We in Labour fundamentally believe that the State should provide for books, shoes, uniforms for children in school. The CSO’s research published today shows that 12.4% of single-parent households ere unable to afford two pairs of properly fitting shoes for their children. In a ‘wealthy’ society, how can government allow this type of disadvantage to be left unaddressed?

“Conversations between parents and schools should be about education, how people’s children are progressing. Instead, they are almost always about money – paying ‘voluntary’ contributions, following up with parents on school tour fees. We know this is having a genuine impact on families. Today’s research shows that 9.7% of single-parent households could not afford to pay for school trips or events. This must be addressed – children should not be excluded from class trips because of money.

“Autumn is always a stressful time of year on families, and it has been compounded by the cost of living crisis. Parents shouldn’t be forced to continue to pick up the tab for the failure of the Government to fund the actual costs of educating our children.”

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