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


Right, so you are unable to answer the question. “equality of opportunity” is very laudable, I agree with you. But you are unable to tell me how destroying the school system in the way that you want to would make things better.

The inevitable consequence will be a ‘free’ system with a lot more schools in it, costing the taxpayer more, and a smaller amount of private schools, which will cherry pick the best teachers and reinforce privilege for those who can afford it.

I genuinely think the current system is better all round, doing my best to look at it objectively. I cannot see the merit in your position.

This is just snide. We make sacrifices but there are limits to what most people who send their kids to private schools can afford - that’s the whole point.


I am not sure why you think removing subsidies from private schools would destroy the school system. According to you, 17% of students attend a private secondary school, so the rest must attend public schools. Why would making a change that at most has an effect on 17% of students destroy the school system? And as I said, it is likely that there wouldn’t be any change for most students.

The current system attempts to create a tiered system using tax payers money. Why should a student not be allowed attend a school that they live beside on the basis that they can’t pay a fee to a school that is already claiming money from the public purse. It is inherently unfair. As I said, I have no problem with private schools, provided they are self-financing.


Would parents not be delighted if their private school converted to public?

Same school - no fees.

…and every child would have an opportunity to enrol without wealth as a filter.


Probably not the same school though. Unless they can make up the lost fee difference through voluntary donations, facilities and teacher numbers would have to be cut. Otherwise every school would be public!


Surely - when all the cods-wallop is cast aside - that’s the ultimate point. The fees that the parents are currently paying will now be the parents’ to keep; they can then use those monies to improve the public school helping to improve the lives of a much broader sweep of their local jurisdiction.

If the benefits of a private school are predominately the facilities etc. and are not the elitist clique network then this should be an acceptable result.


I had no opinion either way on this previously but thanks to this thread I have formed a basic view:

No child should be excluded from any publicly funded school (full or partial) through the use of a financial barrier.


Getting in will be tricky even if in a feeder school or in the catchment area. Hardest schools to get into in Dublin are the two free Irish language schools in Donnybrook because excellent academic reputation and free.


I know of people who were quite unhappy in Colaiste Eoin and Iosgain and found it quite snobby and exclusionist.

From another thread


“begrudgery” accusation - automatic defence in Ireland when an entitlement is threatened

“false doctrine” ? eh ?

“philosophical whim” ? I think he means principle.

“Every child suffers” - that’s known in Ireland as the appalling vista gambit.


Certainly that’s the likely scenario for most schools … So, in that case, the parents just need to ensure that they spend their “saved” fees on improving their newly public school.


I’m amused by the idea that private schools converting to public schools would have no financial barriers to entry. With maybe ten exceptions the private schools in this country are located in the most expensive parts of Dublin.

In the absence of fees as a barrier to entry, the barrier will move to families of present and past pupils followed by living within the catchment area. The same (if not a greater) financial barrier as before, just applied to your house price not the school fees.


I’d be surprised if the Education Act allowed discrimination in favour of past pupils children in publicly funded schools. I don’t think they’re allowed discriminate on the basis entrance exams either?

You have touched upon one unintended benefit of ending this odious two tier system…if only locals ended up going to popular schools in Dublin you’d have much less traffic criss crossing the suburbs on school runs.


My wife and I ended up sending our child to a fee-paying school for one simple reason: we couldn’t get him into any non-Catholic free schools and we objected to sending him to a Catholic school.


Prepare to be amazed then because most schools have extensive autonomy when it comes to setting admission criteria. Children of past pupils get priority in any school I’m familiar with that has the luxury of being oversubscribed.


So it seems … -1-2903545

I can’t see Labour letting that stand.

I think I recall Gemma Hussey or Niamh Breatnach “banning” entrance exams as a selection criteria?


That’s a really interesting theory but then again it seems to be pie in the sky nonsense that’s totally unworkable in real life. Have you any notion of how it might actually work in practice? For example how to convince people to put the saved money into helping educate his neighbours children rather than going on holiday?


I respect that opinion, but unfortunately I don’t see a way to change the system to be any fairer than it is now. You can tear up the existing system to hurt the middle income families who can just about afford the good, fee-charging school in their area but you won’t improve the lot of the children who are going to public/free schools one jot.

There will be no winners, only losers. The only victory will be an ideological one: yay, that garda can’t afford to send his kids to Blackrock with the tribunal lawyers anymore, w00t w00t.


Just to add fuel to the fire – I went to visit St Andrews recently. It’s one of the more expensive fee-paying schools, at 7500/year. I was expecting to be underwhelmed but I have to say I was blown away by the place. You can see exactly where the money is going; TBH given the level of facilities, I’m surprised the fees aren’t higher.


  • junior infant no longer use textbooks. At all. Everything is done via iPad.
  • The adult/child ratio in JI/SI is 1:10. Max class size in junior school is 25-26.
  • They have 3 hours of PE per week vs the national average of 1 hour.
  • Onsite lessons in 8 or so musical instruments (some are included, some at extra charge)

This place is definitely not to everyone’s taste, and I’m still trying to figure out if it’s all a bit too much (not to mention too expensive for us), but I will say this… there is no doubt that the 7.5k is being well spent.


7500/year? Or 625/month? gulp

Then again I think, for the two kids to attend, that would still be -4% of what we’re currently paying for afterschool/nursery fees… #swingsandroundabouts


Indeed. It’s a truly frightening amount when you consider it’s after-tax earnings. And it would limit the flexibility one parent would have to cut back on work etc.

It does drop as they get older, by about 1k I think.

As you say, still cheaper than creche. Our creche fees are 1150/month for one child (less the ECCE grant).


And what’s this from Mr. Scargill: “… give their children the best possible chance of a good education.”

Chance?? I wouldn’t leave it to chance. I expect it! I’ll make sure my kids are rested, fed, on time and do their homework, the school will provide a good education. That is the expectation, the contract. And I expect a good education from the State.

The extras available to kids in fee-paying schools are not necessary for a ‘good education’, but enrich an education. What is at issue here is not the ‘what’ i.e. a ‘good education’, but the ‘how’ i.e. fee-paying or not/with extras or not.

BTW What I like about St. Andrew’s is, in order of importance:
1- co-ed: I have one of each so for logistical reasons it makes sense
2- location: it’s close by

I’m not aware of any state/non-fee paying schools that satisfy these two concerns, though as time approaches for kids to go to secondary, this might change…crosses fingers