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


Its not a “weird” ideological push. Its just a change you don’t like.
If it is “weird” then I suppose you’re saying the rest of the developed world is “weird” and we’re the normal ones with our subsidy system :laughing:

There is no evidence that the amount of State support currently provided is the absolute optimum outcome for the taxpayer. We don’t know the elasticity of how much a Blackrock/Alexandra parent will pay to segregate. Lets cut it by 20% a year and see.

The Kilkenny example is interesting. They’ll still have “ethos” as a barrier to entry. You won’t see traveller kids there.
They’re still charging fees for boarding.
I know some large COI families who had ordinary single income non-professional household and couldn’t afford protestant fee paying schools in south dublin. More free protestant schools would be good for such households.

How they control demand from ala carte catholics and agnostics will be interesting. Catchment Area? Interview?


7% of British children (Source: Wikipedia) are educated in independent schools with little or no subsidy (although I’m a bit out of date on post-Bliar financing). Wikipedia states that fees are “averaging over £23,000 per annum for boarding pupils and £11,000 for day pupils”). Other more recent sources (Telegraph) indicate £25k/pupil for boarders. The Guardian (2011) states average fees across all types to be £13,200.

In Ireland there are 26,000 students in fee-paying schools (source: Indo Oct 2012) of 153k total (Source: CSO), which is 17%. The Indo states that their income is €227m annually, of which fees contribute “more than €120 million”, so that’s €8.7k/pupil of which €4.6k is grant and €4.1k is fees.

If Irish fees rose to €16k average with no subsidy and numbers dropped to 7% to match the UK, there would be 15k fewer privately educated pupils, saving €70m in subsidy but costing €122m to educate the in state schools (assuming no economies of scale).

Net result: €52m annual loss.

You’re welcome to propose alternative models, but I would suggest that the combination of far higher numbers and far lower fees in Ireland are a clear indicator that the market cannot bear a substantial increase in fees without a dramatic drop in numbers.

FWIW, my children are in state schools. Although I could easily afford the private school fees, I worry that they would fall in with a bad crowd of the “my daddy is the highest paid partner in KPMG” sort.



It doesn’t seem sensible not to keep fees at €8.7k in Ireland.
And it isn’t only about money. Its about apartheid. It’s like doing business with South Africa at that time. Even if you could justify it economically its still morally wrong.


Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.


That’s chips mate. It’ll toughen them up to live on them.


That simile is merely offensive to those who suffered under the apartheid of South Africa.

There’s an argument to be had about private education in Ireland, that sort of statement probably doesn’t further it.


It is a shameless example of “separate development”. ‘Carve me out my tax dollars so I can segregate my kids’.

And spare me the lesson on South Africa. The products of Irish fee paying schools were inviting South African rugby teams to play in Ireland into the 1970s over 10 years after the Sharpeville Massacre. Shameless.


Yeah, and what about all those private vehicles using our roads? Screw those guys.


Proposing to squeeze families with kids in private schools with 20% fee increases each year until they can’t bear it any more and disrupt their children’s education by moving them to a free school - that’s morally wrong. Pretending that it’s some sort of principled crusade rather than a crude exercise in ‘tax that other guy’ - that’s also morally wrong.

All schools are subsidised. Whether you have children or not, your taxes go to pay for the education system. Some schools are subsidised less than others. Be thankful for that, it is saving you money as a taxpayer.


Do you apply this logic to all subsidies and state protections?
Every cut to a farm subsidy, or PS allowance, or taxi deregulation are a moral issue?
Oh wait…they don’t effect you.

I can’t see how a government can countenance cutting child benefit while this subsidy isn’t being phased out.


That’s excellent work, thanks for posting it.


I’d agree with Sharper’s position on page 4 of this thread.


The government has already squeezed the sector as much as it can. Hence the Kilkenny school decision, with more potentially following the same route. You don’t seem to have grasped it yet - you can’t cut funding to schools that charge fees without it costing the taxpayer more money.

What’s I object to in your post ‘morally’ is not the suggestion to make cuts, but the callous nature in how you propose it: just sweat the poor parents by 20% a year until they crack under the pressure and pull Johnny out of Blackrock in his Junior Cert year because they can’t afford the fees any more. Think about that for a minute, think how humiliating for a parent, how disruptive for the child, but you want to just have a little social experiment for the craic and see if it might save a few quid from your own tax bill.

Personally, I’m fairly relaxed about this now. I don’t think the minister can squeeze any more. Sadly a couple of support staff in the school have lost their jobs because of the drop in funding but the school continues to be very good.


No as per Sharper’s points I think you’re comparing apples and oranges. We have a fairly effective public education system. We have a dysfunctional health system.


Hey, if garda sergeants no longer have to pay these fees to educate their children then they can afford to take a paycut -think of the savings at that end :smiley:


They went to SA during the boycott too, in the early 80s. And sure weren’t there RUC men playing on the team? Anyhow, I take your point about parents who can afford it throwing a few quid at the school so as to insulate their kids from the rabble but would the removal of the subsidy solve that problem? I think the same kind of thing goes on with the gael scoileana, keep the kids away from the furriners. And in SOCU it seems the culture around these schools is little different from that in the private schools, and the tax payer picks up the tab entirely. Maybe we should privatise those.


Who knows if they’ll crack. Maybe there’ll be a leverage bubble to pay school fees. Maybe Grandparents will step in and inheritances will be less. Maybe there’ll be less money for mortgage repayments and the price of houses in SCD will go down. Maybe the schools will adapt back to 5 year cycle not 6. Maybe they’ll downgrade cars. We don’t know.

The schools themselves seem to be pretty ruthless on the “humiliation front” … re-unpaid/

I think a phasing out is fair. Maybe with a couple of years warning in advance too.


Yes the gael scoileana infuriated Sarah Carey for this point as well. She wrote in Irish Times on it in late 2008.

You’re an ally of Sarah Carey :laughing:


You don’t think it’s fair, you think it’s a way to make budget cuts that won’t affect you. You’re wrong, but that’s what you are saying - get the Blackrock grannies and grandads to pay the fees, cut off the funding, everyone happy in your little world.

As to ‘we don’t know’ I think Escatalogist posted a very good argument to demonstrate that there is a price elasticity around school fees. From direct personal experience I can tell you that a lot of friends and acquaintances would seriously struggle of there were significant increases in fees.

The Alex story is awful, I suppose this is the kind of thing you want to see more of?


As it happens my “little world” corresponds with what most of the rest of the world does. And your “little world” doesn’t…

Escatalogist demonstration might be faulty. It envisages doubling of Irish fees from present gross cost. It also begs the question as to whether the UK taxpayer would “save money” if they adopted our system? I don’t think so. Thankfully they understand the implications of private schooling there.

I point to the Alex story as it shows how ruthless these schools can be themselves. No middle class welfare there.