€17.4M for school funding, Dublin Primary School’s church supervision transition


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Minister for Education Norma Foley TD has announced €17.4 million in funding to support digital learning in schools and minor building works in Dublin. This funding is part of a broader initiative that includes €50 million in grant funding for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), which will be issued shortly to all recognized primary and post-primary schools across the country. Additionally, €29 million in minor works funding is being provided to primary and special schools.

Enhancing Digital Learning and School Infrastructure

The ICT funding will not only support digital transformation but also contribute to school infrastructure upkeep and minor renovations through funding for smaller initiatives. This holistic approach addresses both technological advancement and physical infrastructure needs in schools. The Digital Strategy for Schools funding of €50 million is the second phase, building on the initial €50 million granted between 2021 and 2022.

The Digital Strategy ICT grant includes a €2,000 basic grant for primary schools, along with additional payments based on the number of pupils. For example, a 100-pupil primary school will receive €5,973, while a 500-pupil primary school will receive €21,865. Post-primary schools will also receive grants based on student numbers, with a 500-student school receiving €25,840 and a 1,000-student school receiving €49,680.

St. Mary’s Primary School on Dorset Street is set to transition from Catholic Church supervision to being under the auspices of Educate Together starting next week. This change is to diversify school patronage in Ireland. The pilot consultation process for changing primary schools’ patronage, which began in 2022 with 29 participating schools including St. Mary’s, reflects a growing trend towards multi-denominational education.

Minister Foley’s department continues to provide schools with ICT infrastructure funding, supporting the effective implementation of the Digital Strategy. The department is also releasing revised instructions for managing school structures and distributing €29 million fund in Minor Works grants to primary and special schools. These initiatives demonstrate a commitment to enhancing the educational environment and resources for both students and educators.

The divestment of St. Mary’s primary school from Catholic Church patronage represents a significant step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse education system. Parental voices were prioritized in the consultation process, ensuring their input in decisions regarding patronage changes.

The department’s Planning and Building Unit is finalizing updated guidance for schools regarding good practice arrangements for the maintenance of school buildings. This guidance, to be published later in Q2 2024, will be provided in an online interactive format for easy accessibility by schools.

education of so many generations of pupils in the original primary schools in St Joseph’s Parish

Archbishop Dermott Farrell

Archbishop Dermott Farrell acknowledged the contributions of the Christian Brothers and Religious Sisters of Charity to educating generations of pupils in St Joseph’s Parish. This recognition highlights the collaborative efforts that have shaped the educational landscape in Ireland.

In his capacity as a Labour Party TD and a previous national school principal, Aodhán Ó Riordan has brought up issues of potential prejudice in the trial consultation process, which may be inclined towards preserving the existing state of affairs.

The Archbishop thanked all parties involved in the consultation process, including parents, the local priest, and the independent facilitator. This latest announcement represents a significant investment in Ireland’s education system, focusing on both digital transformation and school-building improvements.

As Ireland moves towards a more diverse and technologically advanced education landscape, initiatives like the transition of St. Mary’s primary school and the allocation of significant funding for digital learning and infrastructure improvements are crucial steps in achieving these goals.

The €17.4 million investment in digital learning and minor building works, coupled with ongoing initiatives and research, reflects a comprehensive approach to enhancing education in Dublin and throughout Ireland. These efforts underscore the government’s commitment to supporting schools, improving infrastructure, and leveraging digital technologies for effective teaching and learning.

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