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Senator


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Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn)

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Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Ruairí Quinn)

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Snippet Contents:

The Deputy will be aware of the extremely challenging economic environment that forms the backdrop to all decisions relating to the public finances. While this Government has undertaken to protect education spending as much as possible, we are not operating in a vacuum and efforts to secure savings have had to be made in the education sector also.
The 2013 gross Budget allocation of €8,566m for my Department represents a 1% reduction approximately on the 2012 Allocation. Despite this reduction I have been able to protect front line services to the extent that there will be no increase in average class size at primary level and no increase in the general pupil-teacher ratio at second level. The Budget actually provides for an extra net 900 teachers in schools in the 2013/14 year to cater for upward demographic pressures. In addition, special needs services are also protected, while the DEIS scheme for disadvantaged schools is also fully protected, with no overall changes to staffing levels or funding as a result of this Budget.
While Budget 2013 required the implementation of some difficult savings measures in areas of the education sector and, while I would prefer to be in a position to allocate more resources across the sector, I am nevertheless confident that we can achieve much with what we have, through efficient and effective use of the resources that have been allocated to my Department for 2013.
My Department will review the financial position during 2013 very closely with a view to ensuring that expenditure remains within the allocation for this year.