MCW - €4.5k per pupil, per year subsidy to private schools


MCW = Middle Class Welfare
Ireland seems to be an outlier in mature western democracies in allowing this quasi School Voucher system to have developed.

I think the Middle Class are getting upset about what low hanging fruit might get targeted in the spending cuts.
Two articles today in the Irish Times about it. Perhaps they’re hearing rumblings on the grapevine about it being phased out?

Time to end this divisive debate … 03207.html

More like ‘time to end this debate which is embarrassing to us’

It is a disappointingly shallow set of arguments from the Belvedere Guy. These Lay principals can’t even make Jesuitical arguments :smiley:

George Hook then chips in with his angle
In defence of fee-paying schools … 03207.html


If the state enforces a national curriculum and obliges kids to attend school from 6 years to 15 years (?), then the state takes on some obligation to fund that schooling.
If private schools can do the job more cheaply for the state, albeit subsidized by the parents (or by some of the parents in Belvedere’s case), isn’t this a good thing?


What do they do in France?



The problem is that the “private” schools aren’t private, they’re subsidised by the government.

Remember that schools are funded not just by the taxes of the parents whose children attend them but **everyone’s ** taxes regardless of whether they even have children. Parents using the “private” system in Ireland are able to ring fence their own tax contribution, that of other people and then top it up slightly to get a benefit of more than what they’re paying.

When I pay taxes I’m paying for resources that anyone (or anyone that “needs” it) can access, not resources that Paddy Middleclass can appropriate and then erect price barriers to stop others from accessing it.


The problem is: Private schools perpetuate inequality and elitism. Also, since third level fees were abolished parents have been putting their money into second level fees.

But it is more than an economic debate.


How is he appropriating anything? Any child can access education in a school in Ireland and a teacher allocation will follow him to whichever school he ends up in. If any barriers exist they stop others from accessing the additional services paid for by the private fees not the basic education to which everyone is entitled.

Disclaimer: I went to a non-fee paying school and my kids are going and will continue to go to non-fee paying schools.**


The education system is one of finite resources. Some parents access those resources but prevent others from using them, that’s where the appropriating comes in.

If you want to send your kids to a fee paying school I’m fine with that but you can pay for it yourself. What’s unreasonable is soaking up the same resources as a free school but adding barriers to stop other people sending their kids there.

Your kids are educated with my taxes just as surely as yours. I’m subsidising your kid’s “private” education.



Er, if you look at the original article, doesn’t is say that private schools ‘cost’ everyone 4,500 per child, while state schools ‘cost’ everyone 8,000 per child? So by choosing private, you are less of a burden on the rest of the taxpayers than those choosing state - you make up the difference with your after-tax income, some of which is recycled in the pay of the private school teachers…

I don’t see what ring-fencing is going on here.

edit: cross with alex_a - the basic capitation grant is the same for all children. Fully state funded schools then get additional capitation allowances.


Why should private school parents pay 8 K for other kids free education and only get 4.5K in return? The capitation grant should be increased.


Paddy Middleclass? Gosh the Class Warriors really get worked up over this one don’t they! (Perhaps they should impose an Envy Tax. Jack O’Connor could add it to his Trophy House levy) It’s a non-issue as far as most of the population is concerned Every child’s education is subsidised to a degree by the State - some parents decide to put a little bit more of their hard-earned cash towards their child’s education. You can be fairly certain that most of these parents pay a hell of a chunk of the overall tax take anyway. What’s the alternative? Remove the subsidy from Private Schools? They would charge even higher fees and they’d become even more “elite”. Be careful what you wish for - in other words! (Wasn’t it Labour in a fit of ideological madness who abolished third level fees a few years back? That worked out well!


because they choose not to use the public schools - those who can’t afford it can’t access the facilities which the “privates” have.

I’m in two minds - as others have pointed out the cost per pupil from the State is less however I’m also sure that many parents could pay full whack if neeed (just look at the numbers who leave SCD private schools to go to the Institute on Leeson St)

Anecdote: but I hear the number of first years enrolling in SCD private schools is down - I know there are only 40 odd pupils in one SCD girls secondary (think Cathedral in Paris) that used to have 50 odd - meaning the pupil teacher ratio is a healthy 20 to 1.

BTW my folks would have been higher rate payers but down the country there wasn’t any private day school nearby so I got my fine education from de brudders.

Talking about Private School parents paying higher rates is bollox. Class Warfare my eye


Accepting those figures by choosing private you pay €4500 for something that costs €8000, the difference being made up by the taxpayer.

To the tune of €3500. The portion of tax the parent pays towards education is ringfenced into a private system nobody else can access. And he got to take my taxes with him.


You should go with “Begrudgers!” And be done with it. We already know it’s the standby argument used to defend absolutely everything wrong in this country.

And in doing so ensure their children access superior levels of education. Which is fine if they want to pay the cost of it, not use mine and everyone else’s taxes to subsidise it.

Yes abolish the subsidy. As I said I’m fine with private education, the problem here is state funded private education.


Middle class warfare? The vast majority of middle class parents that I know sent their children to public schools. Generally, the folks who sent children to fee-paying schools would be from well-paying professional classes (doctors, lawyers, high ranking civil servants, etc.).


I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick there. The €4,500 is the per pupil funding private schools can access from the state and the €8,000 is the per pupil funding that non-fee paying schools can access from the state. So, using €5,000 as an estimate of actual fees, what you would actually end up with is that you pay €5,000 to get something that costs €9,500, with the difference of €4,500 being made up by the tax payer, but if you chose not to pay €5,000 you could get something that costs €8,000 from the tax payer absolutely free.

The €4,500 tax payer funded education spend follows the child whether he goes to a private school or a non-fee paying school. The pupil will use our taxes to pay teacher salaries. Anyone can access the benefit that the €4,500 funding for teacher salaries provides but the choice lies in whether you want to pay out of your own pocket for additional facilities.


Your’e probably right in that most schools aren’t fee paying and the middle class is quite large and broadly based in Ireland. The local girls’ secondary school in my area is fee paying, while the local boys’ school is public. There are boys and girls from the same family in both schools, so the parents don’t have any hangups about the actual status of the schools. There are plenty of girls in the neighbourhood going to the fee paying school - none that I know of have parents who are doctors or lawyers. There are a few teachers, bank workers, IT workers, a Firefighter, car salesman etc., all sending their daughters to the fee paying school. Unfortunately, I’ve two girls (no boys) and they are at the fee-paying school for convenience more than anything else, which we are very happy with. I’m not of the “professional classes” - and we are a one car (7 year old Skoda) family! Elitism? I wish - it’s a struggle for many families to pay the fees.


Yes you could. Instead €4500 per pupil (or whatever subsidy is available) is extracted, placed under private control and has access to it restricted to other fee paying students. That value is almost certainly more than the parent’s tax contribution to the education system thus the private education of their children is subsidised.

Right which means if you have the money to top it up you don’t give much of a shit for the state system at all. By adding a little bit on you get to directly control the whole amount even though that amount contains my money as well as yours.

I’d love to be able to that with all my taxes. Special paths for me and my fee paying buddies to walk on so we don’t have to worry about undesirables (hey our paths cost the state less to build than regular ones what’s the problem?).

Before you say “Aha! Toll roads!” consider this: Private companies “top up” the cost of building a road slightly and in doing so get to toll the entire thing, they extract an open ended amount of profit based on a resource they only partially financed. The rest came from the taxpayer.

Toll roads are cheaper for the government to build too so no problem there.


No, you have the figures backwards.

Cost to state of state school child - 8,000
Cost to state of private school child - 4,500

That’s the money that comes from general taxation.

edit: by your logic above, the cost is cheaper to the state for the private pupil, so that’s fine…