Additional funding of €1m to reduce the cost of books for primary school pupils in DEIS schools is welcome news for parents, Fine Gael TD, for Carlow, Pat Deering has said.
Deputy Deering said: "My colleague, Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, has announced a new €1 million fund which aims to provide free books in primary schools.
"More than 15,000 pupils across more than 100 primary schools are to benefit from the increased investment which is extremely welcome for parents.
"The investment is being made on top of the book grant provided to all schools in the country and follows a commitment to in Budget 2020 to introduce an extra support to reduce costs for families and school communities."
DEIS provides for a standardised system for identifying levels of disadvantage and an integrated School Support Programme (SSP).
Deputy Deering added: "Around 15,500 children will benefit from the additional funding.
"The new pilot which aims to provide free school books will be available to more than 100 primary schools which are part of the DEIS programme, in both rural and urban areas.
"The pilot programme will see the book grant increase to €85 per pupil in the participating schools, all of which are in the DEIS programme.
"Fine Gael is committed to education and helping families with their living costs wherever possible."
Minister for Education, Joe McHugh said: "The additional €1 million funding for these schools effectively means we are now investing four times as much money on book grants for next September.
"The aim is to provide school books for these children and their families and we hope to build on this.
"The cost of school books is recognised as a significant element of back to school costs and in line with the overall aim of DEIS to ensure all learners have equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.
"I have decided to focus this funding on DEIS schools, in both urban and rural areas, which cater for high concentrations of students from disadvantaged areas."
The Department of Education and Skills already provides a book grant of almost €17 million to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books, including book rental schemes and all schools are encouraged to operate book rental schemes to help alleviate costs to parents.