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


Oh god not this again. This horse has been flogged to death a long time ago.

Can I save everyone some time –

Side A: it’s not fair that the state subsidises the cost of private education. If you want to go private, you should pay the entire cost. Doing otherwise creates social divisions based on money and is bad for society.

Side B: children in private education cost the state far less than those in public education due to lower subsidies; the state is being saved money for each child in private eduction. Why shouldn’t people use money to “top up” their school’s facilities, just like public schools do with “voluntary” donations?

Side A: But the admissions policies of some private schools are elitist

Side B: Yes they are. Admission policies are generally fucked in this country.

And so on ad nauseum. It’s a religious argument.


The passengers on the bus are already being heavily subsidised by the state…many to the point of having totally “free” travel. Those in the taxi (or a private car) aren’t. So, in the interests of “equality and fairness” - perhaps the answer to your question should be a resounding, “Yes”.


Can you expand on this …I assume having the means to pay the fee is not enough …are private schools over subscribed? I assume there’s an interview, attendance at a feeder school , the parents attended the school, the parents “social standing” / professions are all factors.


Admissions policies in private schools are the same as all other schools. They prioritize children of former students and siblings of former/current siblings. And of course, religion


Yes, fee paying schools are often oversubscribed. The fees are not high enough to create an economic incentive to meet demand.

Well, that’s one explanation. The other is that they use artificial scarcity as a means of controlling what sort of people they accept.


The state implicitly does so by reserving scarce road space for the use of buses and taxis and not charging them for it.

Taxis are much better equipped to take advantage of this free gift.

So yes, there is an implicit state subsidy to your taxi ride.


No it’s not a religious argument.
There are weird regressive aspects to any attempt in a policy change.
Parents and fee paying schools arrange letter writing campaigns to Dublin Fine Gael tds.
The fact that Britain has private schools but doesn’t receive this subsidy is glossed over.

It’s a bit like recipients of a niche welfare support complaining when it’s touched. Which is apt.


Parents pay for children’s education through their taxes. It is deemed to be more efficient than every parent employing tutors privately. State redistribution of income to pay for education is not a subsidy. It is an entitlement (to your own money). Start from there.


It’s not my money or your money any more. It’s the states they took it in income tax/USC/PRSI/VAT etc etc
There is no entitlement to it once you’ve given it away.

Some parents pay for their childrens education through tax and voluntary contributions, some pay through tax and school fees.
Some parents have nothing to pay, their children are still allowed attend school.

I home educate my kids can I get a refund?


Not really.

The majority (perhaps the vast majority) of parents would pay for education privately if there was zero state provision. This is the case in parts of the developing world where state capacity is weak. The point of universal education free at point of use is to ensure that children with incompetent parents get an education too.

You can also make the point that taxes are simply a repayment of the loan of a free education you got as a child.

I get deeply ambivalent about this debate in Ireland. First, nearly all schools are private in the sense that they are owned by a body other than the state. But, then all schools are also public as somewhere between 50% and 100%* of their capitation plus capital plus teachers salaries come from the state. I know a lot of people who went to fee-paying schools (I didn’t) and I cannot manage much of a distaste for them - indeed many are my friends!

I can’t see much difference in terms of educational outcomes (evidence does not support this either). The only difference I see is that they still tend to hang around together 20 years later. Whether this results in better labour market outcomes is moot. There are lots of networks in Ireland. Former inter-county players tend to find jobs easily enough for example.

You could take an ideological position and remove capitation from fee-paying schools. I would hazard that of the 50 or so the bulk would opt in to the state system (indeed some have done so in recent years). You would be left with about a dozen who would go full fee-paying, nearly all in or around dublin. This would mean a doubling of fees, probably a reduction in numbers and more exclusivity than at present. These schools would probably innovate a bit more, like lecture-type classes for some subjects and maybe start teaching the international bacculaureate.

*John Scottus is the exception I believe since Aravon closed. But am open to correction on this.


Private primary schools receive no state funding afaik so John Scottus is not unique.


I have no kids and wasn’t educated in Ireland. Can I remit a portion of my taxes to George Osborne for that repayment? Where will this kind of reasoning all end?

I pay taxes for all sorts of things from which I didn’t and never will directly benefit. I just grit my teeth and accept it as part of the price I pay for not having to fund the things that do benefit me entirely out of my own pocket.


Sorry for the above ‘school’ read ‘secondary school’.

The Institute of Education and the like also receive no state funding either I believe.


You sure about that? The ones I know of do teach the national curriculum and are inspected (for example, here is the 2010 John Scottus inspection report).


Thanks. Seems like some choose to teach it and others don’t.


After decades of Middle Class Welfare, the chickens come home to roost when the Irish establishment asks for cooperation ! :rofl:

Dublin secondary school has announced that it will defy the Government decision to reopen schools three days a week for Leaving Certificate students.
Alexandra College in Milltown, Co Dublin, has told parents and students that a partial reopening would pose unacceptable health risks.
Principal Barbara Ennis said: “I honestly believe we’ve made the right decision and I would be very surprised if the Government does not reverse the move to reopen schools. Many other schools are up in arms. I think we’ll be the first of many not to reopen.”
She said schools, unions and principals had not been consulted over a decision which would jeopardise the health of staff and students.
She said schools, unions and principals had not been consulted over a decision which would jeopardise the health of staff and students.
“As principal, I am personally responsible for the health, safety and wellbeing of staff. If we reopen, I cannot guarantee any of those things. I’d be going against the very tenets of my job,” she said.
A number of other secondary schools are meeting to consider taking similar action in light of the public health threat posed by Covid-19.


Ahead of the game…reverse ferret from government on leaving cert classes.


In many ways, the Irish experiment with calculated grades will now be seen as a success story, even if many individual students still feel bitterly hard done by.
For decades there has been talk of reforming the Leaving Cert and boosting the chances of students from disadvantaged schools.
This model - hatched in the space of a few months - delivered on these fronts and avoided the kind of chaos that took over the UK education system last August.

An ‘Irish solution to an Irish problem’ - the private schooling subsidy’s effect on society is looked at. But the subsidy itself is left unexamined and untouched.

I think it all sounds unconstitutional. Both the subsidy and the marking


Ah but there are clearly some up sides to calculated grades, equity uber alles