Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the percentage of primary and secondary schools in each county operating a textbook rental or loan scheme in the 2014-15 school year.
REPLY (Minister Jan O'Sullivan):
Since 2011, my Department has gathered information from primary schools as to whether they operate book rental schemes. Returns for September 2013 indicate that 84% of primary schools operate a book rental scheme. This compares to 83% in 2012 and 77% in 2011.
The position at second level is that for September 2013, 68% of schools reported that they operate book rental schemes. A more detailed analysis of the returns show that 55% of voluntary secondary schools; 66% of Community and Comprehensive schools and 88% of Education and Training Board schools are operating book rental schemes. Responses to a survey conducted in 2012 was disappointing and does not lend itself to comparisons with the returns received in respect of 2013.
My Department will continue to request information on book rental schemes from first and second level schools annually. The information requested by the Deputy in respect of the 2014/2015 school year is not yet available. However, the information will be available in the first quarter of 2015.
As the Deputy is aware Budget 2014 provided funding of €5 million for three years to support the establishment of book rental schemes in primary schools that did not operate such schemes. DEIS schools will receive €150 per child and non-DEIS schools will receive €100 per child in seed capital to establish book rental schemes.
This will cost approximately €6.7million of the €15 million secured over the three year period, the balance of €8.3 million will be divided in 2015 and 2016 among primary schools that currently operate book rental schemes. Every primary school has now been given the opportunity to benefit from the funding secured for the School Book Rental Scheme.
The existing €15million already provided in book grants to all primary and post-primary in the Free Education Scheme will continue to be paid in 2015.