With Budget 2024 released earlier this week, it has seen the largest funding in history being allocated to education, with an unprecedented €10.5bn investment in Ireland's primary and post-primary education systems.
One of the welcomed changes is the extension of the free books scheme to include junior cycle students at the post-primary level.
This year’s budget introduces measures that will break down barriers and enhance student’s experience in school.
The key features include:
Other funding has been given to increase the minimum wage by €1.40 per hour making it €12.70 per hour from 1 January 2024. The rent tax credit has also increased from €500 to €750 for private renters.
The extension of child benefit to cover 18-year -olds in full-time education will also provide parents of students in this age group who are still in education extra financial support.
Reducing education costs for families
Announcing the details of the specific investment in education and schools in Budget 2024, Minister for Education Norma Foley TD said these supports will ensure inclusive education for all school communities.
“The funding will ensure continued reduced costs for families; it will continue to tackle disadvantage and it will provide further supports to safeguard inclusive education for all school communities,” said Minister Foley.
She believes a rise in the cost of living should never be a barrier to pupils' and students’ experience of school.
“This year, for the first time ever, families of primary school children benefitted from our landmark free schoolbooks and classroom resources scheme,” emphasised Minister Foley.
The additional targeted funding allocated to social inclusion and educational support will help in facilitating high-quality and inclusive school and education systems to ultimately promote improved learning outcomes for pupils and students.
For full details of the key education features of Budget 2024, see here.