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Over 2,400 extra teachers to be hired in 2017 through Education budget – Minister Bruton

Start of major programme of reinvestment in education, and an important step on the road to becoming the best education service in Europe

Work to commence immediately on a new multi-annual funding model for higher and further education, to build on today’s announcement of the first significant additional investment in higher education in a decade - €36.5million in 2017 and €160million over the next 3 years

Budget 2017 represents the start of a major programme of reinvestment in education, and the first phase of implementation of the Action Plan for Education, aimed at becoming the best education system in Europe within a decade, the Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD said today.

The Department of Education and Skill’s budget will increase by €458 million (5.1%) in 2017 compared to the allocation for 2016 announced in last year’s budget. More than 2,400 extra teachers will be hired in 2017 – a 3.5% increase – as a result of the additional measures announced in Budget 2017. The total education budget for 2017 will be €9.53 billion, in excess of 16 per cent of total spending. Minister Bruton announced the details of the Education estimate for 2017 at a press conference in government buildings.

Key items in the Budget include:

Additional posts in schools: 2,515 additional posts in schools in 2017, including 900 additional resource teachers and 115 additional Special Needs Assistants. The remaining 1500 posts are additional mainstream teaching posts arising from various initiatives.

Higher education: An initial additional €160million in total current funding is committed to higher education over three years, the first significant expansion in Government spending on higher education after a decade in which such spending was cut by 33%, with measures in 2017 including:
· Over 3000 students from disadvantaged groups will benefit from an additional package of €8.5million to support more disadvantaged students, including lone parents and Travellers, to attend higher level. This includes the introduction of full maintenance grant (worth almost €6000) from September 2017 for 1100 postgraduate students in the lowest income category.
· New targeted initiatives to provide skills, and additional flexible learning places
· Funding to commence a New Frontiers Research Programme and a new initiative to attract world-leading researchers in the context of Brexit
· For the first time in recent years, specific additional funding is being allocated for 2017, 2018 and 2019 to cover the impact of increasing enrolments. Funding for 2017 will support 179,000 full-time enrolments
· Provision for expansion in apprenticeship
· Provision to implement the new International Education Strategy and increase the value of the sector by €500million per year and attract 37,000 additional students by 2020
· On top of this initial three-year funding commitment, the Government will work with the aim of putting in place a new comprehensive and ambitious multi-year funding package for the sector from 2018. As part of this, the Department will undertake a review and consultation with the aim of developing a multi-annual funding model for higher and further education and training. This will include consideration of an Employer-Exchequer investment mechanism and will complement the Oireachtas Committee’s consideration of the Cassells report
School leadership: A new package of support for this crucial area, including additional deputy principal posts for larger second level schools and middle management posts for primary and post-primary schools. The commencement of restoration of middle management posts as part of an agreed distributed leadership model means that we will now be able to lift the rigidity of the longstanding moratorium on these posts at primary and post-primary levels. This recognises the key role school leadership has in promoting a school environment which is welcoming, inclusive, accountable and focused on high quality teaching and learning.

Additional capitation: Capitation investment for an estimated 11,000 additional students, to keep pace with demographic growth.

Disadvantage: Provision to implement the new Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools which will be announced before the end of the year, including additional measures in areas like school leadership, teaching methods and clusters to improve the outcomes for students in these schools

Guidance: The equivalent of 100 additional guidance posts by September 2017. The 400 guidance posts which have now been restored (out of 600 which were previously cut) will be allocated separately and transparently and outside of the quota on the schedule of posts.

Curriculum Reform: Provision for our programme of curricular reform in 2017, including Leaving Certificate economics, politics and society, and physical education. Provision is also being made for the allocation of individual professional time for teachers of Junior Cycle, where the new framework is being fully implemented, and the appointment of 550 additional teachers.

Capital: €690million total capital allocation for 2017, an increase of €95 million on 2016 allocation announced in last year’s budget, to deliver up to 20,000 additional school places. This investment will support almost 8,000 construction related jobs.

Small primary schools: Initial changes in this area including an extra teacher for all one-teacher island primary schools; and capacity for one-teacher mainland schools to apply to the staffing appeals board for an extra teacher where the single teacher has children across 6 or more class groups.

Industrial relations: Among other measures in this area, the Minister welcomed the allocation of funding implement the recent agreement reached with the TUI and INTO on salary increases for new entrants since 2012. TUI and INTO. The Minister again indicated his willingness to conclude a similar agreement with ASTI to benefit newly qualified ASTI teachers, within the Lansdowne Road Agreement.

Minister Bruton said:
“Education is at the heart of everything we are trying to deliver as a government – a strongly growing economy sustaining a fair and compassionate society.”
“That is why I published an Action Plan for Education to make Ireland the best Education and Training system in Europe within a decade. Today’s budget, the start of a major programme of reinvestment in education, makes a big start in delivering on that ambition.”
“Today’s education budget will have a big impact. It will lead to 2,500 additional posts in schools. We will underpin ongoing reforms by providing funding for curricular and junior cycle reform. Strong leadership in schools is a vital ingredient to achieving excellence and innovation. That is why we will be increasing the number of Deputy Principals and restoring middle management positions.”
“In Higher Education, the package we are announcing today is the start of a multi-annual programme which will allow our institutions compete with the best in the world. Firstly, we are announcing €160million extra funding over three years, which will not only provide for the first time for increasing demographics, but also fund targeted improvements in areas including skills, research and flexible learning. Secondly, we will immediately start work on putting in place a sustainable and predictable multi-annual funding model for higher education, to build on the funding announced today, including consideration of new funding sources. And thirdly, we will develop our response to the Cassells report, which looks at ways of sustainably funding a world-class higher education system in the medium term.”
“When I was appointed Minister I said that tackling educational disadvantage would be a key theme of my Ministry. In this budget, €5m will be provided to underpin the Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools which I will publish by the end of the year, as well as a series of measures to support more students from these areas to go on to higher education. It is vital that we continue to put a focus on special needs education. 900 additional resource teachers in addition to 115 new special needs assistants will be recruited.”

Minister of State Halligan said:
“I welcome Budget 2017 and am pleased to see a strong focus supporting research and skills development – two areas of particularly importance to me in my role as Minister for Training, Skills and Innovation.”
“I am delighted that we can make additional funding available in the research area. Research investments are very important in producing a highly educated workforce that we need to grow the economy and contribute to society. Ireland has built an innovation-driven culture and has succeeded in building our research capacity that has earned us a strong international reputation, and past investments in research and innovation has been instrumental in securing, diversifying and growing foreign direct investment, in licensing new technologies, and in creating new companies.”
“In addition to this, provision has been made for expansion of apprenticeships, Springboard has been maintained and new funding is being made available for flexible learning and skills development in higher education which will be of huge benefit to employers and learners.”

Notes to Editor

Main Features of the 2017 Estimates

Gross Allocation 2017
Exchequer allocation for gross current expenditure 8,840
Exchequer allocation for gross capital expenditure 690
Allocation for National Training Fund 362
Total overall allocation 9,530

The gross 2017 budget allocation for the Department of Education and Skills is €9.53 billion euro, an increase of 5.1% (€458 million) on the 2016 allocation.

The budget provides for 2,400 additional teaching posts by the end of 2017. This includes 680 posts to meet rising demographic needs, 100 posts arising from enhancements to guidance, 900 additional resource teachers, 550 additional posts arising from Junior Cycle professional time and 170 posts arising from enhancements to school leadership. The Estimates also provide for an additional 115 Special Needs Assistant posts from January 2017.

The 2016 allocation includes €130 million to meet the costs of the Lansdowne Road Agreement in the education sector. An allocation of €52 million will provide for carryover of certain Budget 2016 measures, namely changes the staffing schedule and the costs of 600 additional resource teachers appointed in September 2016.

€10 million has been provided to implement the agreement reached with INTO and the TUI to develop, subject to the introduction of certain reform measures, a new incremental salary scale designed to address the current difference in pay for new entrant teachers (those recruited since 1 February 2012).



Primary (posts) Second level (posts) Total posts
Projected numbers for end 2015 35,850 30,269 66,119
Demographics +390 +290 +680
Guidance enhancement - +100 +100
Junior Cycle Professional Hours - +550 +550
Supports for school leadership - +170 +170
Estimated additional resource teacher posts +580 +320 +900
Projected total number at end 2017 36,820 31,699 68,519

€51 million is allocated to provide for demographic growth in the school sector, which will provide for the appointment of around 680 new classroom teachers and capitation costs for an estimated 11,000 additional students.

Implementation of Junior Cycle reform will be supported with the introduction of 22 hours’ professional time for teachers involved in delivering the Junior Cycle. To ensure class contact time is not reduced, this will involve a 0.5 PTR adjustment in post-primary schools, and the allocation of some 550 whole-time equivalent posts.

€8 million additional funding from within the Department’s budget will be provided for ongoing curricular reform, in areas including primary language, Walk Tall/Stay Safe, Leaving Certificate programmes including Economics, Politics & Society, Agriculture, Physical Education and induction programmes/Droichead.

An additional €2 million will be allocated to strengthen guidance counselling provision. From September 2017 there will be a separate allocation for guidance outside of the quota and the main staffing schedule will revert to 19 to 1.

An additional provision of up to €5 million will be made in 2017 to implement the new Action Plan for Educational Inclusion, which will be published before the end of 2016.

An additional €7.75 million will be provided to strengthen school leadership. Additional deputy principal posts will be provided for in schools with enrolments of 700 students and over, totalling 170 posts. Measures to commence the restoration of middle management posts will be introduced in the primary and post-primary sectors in September 2017. The aim is to contribute to the further development of a distributed leadership model in schools, involving the establishment and facilitation of leadership teams with appropriately defined and shared responsibilities for areas such as curriculum and learning, student support and wellbeing, school improvement and leadership and development of staff teams.

Following a review of the staffing allocation for Small Primary Schools there will be two adjustments in relation to one teacher schools. Where the school is the sole primary school on an island the school will be able to appoint a second teacher. In relation to single teacher schools generally with an enrolment of 15 or more pupils the school can apply to the staffing appeal board for a second post where the single teacher is has children across 6 or more class groups. The detailed arrangements will be set out in the staffing schedule circular for the 2017/18 school year.


Following development and piloting over the past number of years, a new model for allocation of teaching resources for children with special educational needs will be implemented from September 2017. An additional €18 million will be provided in 2017 to provide for around 900 resource teacher posts. Further details regarding implementation of the new model will be announced in the coming months.

Funding is being allocated to provide for the recruitment of 115 additional Special Needs Assistants from January 2017 and to provide for the full year costs of 860 Special Needs Assistants recruited from September 2016.


In 2017, an additional €36.5 million will be allocated to higher education, allowing the provision of over 179,000 full-time enrolments. This will encompass:

€4 million to reinstate maintenance grants from September 2017 for the most disadvantaged postgraduate students.

€31 million to provide for increased demand, further development of technological universities, research and targeted funding for initiatives in the areas of skills, apprenticeships, educational inclusion and flexible learning.

€1.5 million will be provided to implement Irish Educated – Globally Connected, the new International Education Strategy.

€10 million will be allocated to facilitate re-designation of additional hours required under the Croke Park Agreement in the Institute of Technology sector to wider duties other than teaching in line with the agreement reached with the TUI.

Funding will be allocated from within the National Training Fund to provide for forecast increased demand for traditional apprenticeships and rollout of apprenticeships in new sectors. This will be facilitated through reduced NTF expenditure on training for the unemployed in line with reductions in unemployment.

As part of the Budget, the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform are announcing a policy review with the aim of designing and implementing a sustainable and predictable multi-annual funding model for higher and further education and training involving increased Employer and Exchequer contributions from 2018. This review will be undertaken as part of the overall response to meeting the anticipated skills needs in the economy over the coming years, in line with the policy framework set out in the National Skills Strategy.

This review will include (i) analysis of the business case for enhanced investment in the higher and further education and training sectors in this context (ii) identification of key elements of the new funding model (iii) identification of expected impacts including on employers. The review will include consultation with stakeholders.

The policy review will be published by the end of April 2017, and will complement the ongoing work by the Oireachtas Committee considering Investing in National Ambition – A Strategy for Funding Higher Education (the Cassells report).


The capital allocation for 2017 will be €690 million.

The focus in the school sector continues to be the provision of additional permanent places to meet the demographic need at both primary and post-primary levels. The allocation will support the creation of up to an additional 20,000 permanent school places in 2017 through the delivery of Large Scale Projects and the Additional Accommodation Scheme. It is expected that up to 50 large scale projects will reach substantial completion in 2017.

Other expenditure items in 2017 will include acquiring sites for school buildings, the emergency works scheme, funding furniture and equipment requests and other smaller commitments.

Having progressed almost 200 school projects under the Summer Works Scheme in 2016, it will now be possible to advance further school projects under the scheme. Further details will be announced in early 2017. This funding will allow schools to carry out works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings during the summer months or at other times that avoid disrupting the operation of schools.

The allocation for the school sector will facilitate the commencement of an investment programme to upgrade ICT infrastructure in all schools. This is the commencement of the €210m digital technology investment in schools to be delivered by 2021 as indicated in the Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021 launched in September 2015.

Most of the PPP allocation is in respect of Unitary Charges associated with the pilot Bundle and Bundles 1 to 4 in the school sector comprising a total of 27 schools and a VAT payment on the completion of the Bundle 5 Schools in 2017 as well as the Unitary Charges in respect of the Cork School of Music and National Maritime College.

The allocation in the Higher Education sector supports research activities by providing post-graduate and post-doctoral funding. In addition the allocation will include support for the completion of enabling works for the PPP project in Grangegorman, the Glucksman Library project at the University of Limerick and the Confucius Institute project at University College Dublin.