New Free Book Scheme Announced For Primary Schools

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Minister for Education Norma Foley has announced details of a new free school book scheme for primary and special school level.

More than 558,000 pupils enrolled in approximately 3,230 primary schools, including over 130 special schools are to benefit from the new scheme.

This initiative will also provide workbooks and copybooks to ease the financial burdens facing families during back-to-school- time.

Funding will provide schools with Administration Support Grants to assist with the implementation of the scheme and to relieve the administrative burden.

The €50 million investment increases funding and delivers on the Programme for Government commitment to extend the free school book pilot programme.

This scheme will ensure that parents and guardians will not be asked to buy or rent any school books, workbooks or copy books as of autumn 2023.

The Department is issuing guidance for schools and any school with queries about the scheme can contact the Department directly.

Minister Foley said:

I am delighted to announce details of the funding package of over €50 million secured in Budget 2023 for the landmark new scheme to provide free schoolbooks in all primary schools and special schools.

The scheme will provide, at a minimum, free schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks for all pupils enrolled in primary and special schools in the 2023/24 school year.

By providing our primary school children with free school books, we are enhancing their educational experience, not just in the classroom but reaching out into the family home.”

The Breakdown 
  1. Schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks will be provided for all pupils from schools
  2. There is no need parents or guardians to buy or rent these items
  3. Schools will be provided with sufficient funding to cover the costs of providing these items
  4. Schoolbooks are school property and must be returned at the end of the school year.
  5. Schools will be provided with additional administration support.

To support the administration of this scheme the Department is allocating a grant to primary schools for the 2023/24 school year, based on the size of the school, to assist with any additional work required in order to implement the scheme. Schools may use this grant to employ an individual to carry out administrative work on the scheme.

The Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion, Josepha Madigan TD said “I am delighted to see this Programme for Government commitment delivered, with free schoolbooks for all pupils in primary and special schools. This initiative will help reduce the impact of the rising cost of living and will provide significant support to parents of children with special educational needs who may be attending mainstream primary classes, special classes in primary schools or special schools.

I am particularly pleased to see the flexibility that is being built into the scheme to cater for children with special educational needs whereby schools are empowered to use funding to purchase related classroom resources to meet the learning needs of the pupils in their class once any cost of providing appropriate schoolbooks, workbooks and copybooks is met.”

The Department has published guidance for schools and information for parents on how the new scheme will operate via gov.ie/primaryschoolbooks