From next September, parents of primary school children will not need to buy schoolbooks, workbooks or copybooks for their children.
Education Minister Norma Foley this morning announced details of the new free schoolbook scheme.
Minister Foley said more than 558,000 pupils in around 3,230 primary schools and over 130 special schools will benefit.
She said the €50 million scheme will ease the financial burden on families.
“We have clear data and analysis over three years of a scheme we have run in over 100 of our DEIS schools where €85 was provided per child and that was adequate to make free books available,” she said.
“We have actually added to that in terms of making €96 available so we have every confidence that will be sufficient.”
Here is the lowdown on how the scheme works:
Primary schools all around the country will be directly issued €96 per pupil next month.
They will also be handed an administration grant, which will cover the costs of administering the scheme and the hiring of a specific officer to administer it if necessary.
Schools can then use the funding to buy schoolbooks, workbooks, copybooks and where possible some related classroom resources for next year.
Schools will purchase the books and resources directly from schoolbook suppliers.
School management will be permitted discretion in how they spend the money – provided they achieve the aim of eliminating the overall cost of schoolbooks, workbooks, copybooks and where possible, some related classroom resources for parents.
As such, schools must not ask parents to purchase schoolbooks, workbooks or copybooks or to make a contribution towards the cost of them.
The books remain the property of the schools and they are obliged to ensure that they are returned at the end of the school year for re-use the following year.
Schools will continue to have autonomy in choosing the books they believe best address the national curriculum.
Department of Education guidance for schools and information for parents on how the new scheme will operate is available here.