Budget 2023 and Education

Posted on Monday, 3 October 2022
Main Image
Education lifecycle
Page Content

Budget 2023 saw the combined funding for education reach €13.4 billion; a €9.6 billion allocation for the Department of Education and a € 3.8 billion for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.  There was an increase of core funding for both departments, to meet demographic change, to meet commitments in the Programme for Government, and to fund some new initiatives.  A number of one off cost of living measures were also announced.


Budget 2023 - Department of Education

Overall, there was an increase of €443 million in core current expenditure for the Department of Education in 2023.

One off cost of living measures:

Once-off funding of €100 million in financial supports is also being provided for 2022 to support:

  • primary and post-primary schools in the free education system to deal with challenges they face in light of rising energy costs. Schools will receive an increase of approximately 40 per cent in their standard and enhanced rates of capitation funding.
  • existing school transport providers to address the ongoing increased fuel costs.

Budget 2023 measures:

  • Additional 296 post-primary posts to meet demographic change.
  • 370 teachers to reduce school staffing schedules by 1 point for all primary schools.
  • An additional 686 special education teachers across all school settings and 1,194 additional Special Needs Assistants.
  • Additional funding for support services for special education.
  • Free School Book Scheme to commence in all recognised primary schools in September 2023.
  • Continued support for DEIS schools including a reduction in the staffing schedule for certain schools.
  • Enhanced summer programme to be maintained in 2023.

Social Justice Ireland response

Social Justice Ireland welcomes the reduction of the Pupil Teacher Ratio at primary level.  Ongoing invested is required as 23:1 is still one of highest Pupil Teacher Ratios in the EU.  We note the additional post-primary posts to meet demographic demand.  We welcome the additional special education posts across all settings and the additional SNAs and support services for special education.  This must be the first step towards implementing the EPSEN Act in full over a three year time period starting with the changes announced in Budget 2023.

We welcome the Free School Book Scheme at primary level.  This move, while providing welcome support for families, should also support the education system in meeting our national literacy and numeracy goals, and our goals on reducing educational disadvantage. 

Social Justice Ireland proposed a 10% increase in capitation grants at primary and post-primary, while we welcome the one-off funding being made available to schools and school transport providers to support them with energy and fuel costs, we are disappointed that there was not an overall increase in capitation grant for schools to support.

While we welcome the continued support for DEIS and reducing educational disadvantage, we are concerned that the allocation will not be sufficient to reach our national targets in this area.  We regret that the CLASS scheme was not expanded to incorporate the additional requirements for students arriving from Ukraine.


Budget 2023 - Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Overall, there was an increase of €165 million in core current expenditure for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

One off cost of living measures:

  • once-off €1,000 reduction in the student contribution fee for higher education students eligible for the free fees initiative
  • once-off reduction of up to 33% in the contribution fee for apprentices
  • once-off extra payment for all student maintenance grant recipients
  • once-off increase of €1,000 in the support to SUSI qualified Post Graduate students, increasing from €3500 to €4,500
  • once-off funding for the third level sector to assist with rising energy costs

Budget 2023 measures:

  • €40 million to address the sustainable funding of Higher Education as laid out in Funding the Future;
  • €32 million in funding to provide for over 4,100 additional students reflecting demographic pressures and demand in Higher Education;
  • the threshold for the student contribution 50% grant (€1500) has been expanded to €62,000;
  • an increase of 14% in the Special and Band 1 maintenance grant rates and 10% in all other maintenance grant rates from January 2023;
  • further €8 million investment in the Student Assistance Fund for the 2022/23 academic year
  • a permanent increase in the support for Post Graduate fees under SUSI by €500 from €3,500 to €4,000 from September 2023
  • €18 million to support 13,450 upskilling and reskilling places.
  • €30 million in funding to increase capacity for apprenticeship in 2023, and additional funding for social inclusion measures in apprenticeship, such as a bursary for apprentices from under-represented groups

Social Justice Ireland response

We welcome the increased allocation to meet demographic demand and address sustainable funding for higher education but regret that the allocation is insufficient to meet the core funding gap of €307m identified in ‘Funding the Future’ by 2025.    An additional €100m in State funding in higher education would have been an appropriate first step towards meeting the core funding gap by 2025. 

While changes to income thresholds for Student Contribution are welcome, we regret that the maintenance grant was not increased by €1,000 and that no progress was made on allowing part-time undergraduate and post-graduate students to access maintenance grant support.

We welcome the allocation to increase apprenticeship capacity and the social inclusion commitment for apprenticeships. 

We regret the limited progress in delivering the required €25m to rollout the Adult Literacy, Digital Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.

Expenditure Allocations for Budget 2023 can be downloaded here.

Social Justice Ireland’s Budget 2023 Analysis is available here.