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M16/98 School-Books for Needy Pupils Grant Scheme

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School-Books for Needy Pupils Grant Scheme

1. General
1.1 The Minister for Education and Science wishes to refer to the scheme of grants towards the cost of providing school textbooks for needy pupils in second-level schools and to say that the scheme will be operated again in 1998/9 on the basis of the same criteria as in the current year. Following requests by school managements it is proposed to provide for the earlier issue of grant allocations for 1998/9.
1.2 The Minister wishes to again acknowledge the sensitive, responsive and resourceful manner in which the management and staff of schools, particularly the Principals have operated the schemes to date. The Minister looks forward to continued co-operation in serving the interests of the most needy pupils.
2. Eligibility of Pupils
2.1 The scheme applies to needy pupils in schools in the free education scheme.
2.2 A needy pupil is defined as a pupil from a family where there is genuine hardship because of unemployment, prolonged illness of a parent; large family size with inadequate means, single parenthood family or other family circumstances (such as alcoholism) which would indicate a similar degree of financial hardship.
2.3 Such families may be divided into the following three categories:

  • families on low incomes from employment. (Such families are likely to be in receipt of Family Income Supplement, which is a weekly cash payment by the Department of Social Welfare to help families at work on low pay, or to be beneficiaries under the Back-to-School Clothing and Footwear Scheme);

  • families which are experiencing financial hardship because of particular circumstances in the home. (As the vast majority of needy pupils will fall within the first two categories, only a small proportion of those considered eligible will come within this category. A maximum of 2% of total second level enrolment in this category in any school/VEC application will be reckoned in determining allocations).

Entitlement to a medical card is not necessarily an indicator of eligibility.

2.4 Participants in the VTOS, Youthreach and PLC programmes who are supported by other arrangements are ineligible under this Grant Scheme. Pupils who are in the care of foster families under arrangements made by the relevant Health Board are also ineligible. Support for such pupils is a matter for the Health Board,
2.5 A pupil who transfers from one second-level school to another after commencement of the school year is ineligible in the second school unless the Principal is satisfied that assistance has not already been given under this scheme or that any books already supplied in the current school year have been returned.
2.6 The amount and form of assistance given to eligible pupils is a matter for individual schools subject to the terms of the scheme.

3. Book Loan / Rental schemes operated by schools
The Minister urges management authorities and Principals to adopt to the greatest extent possible, the suggestions for textbook loan rental schemes outlined in Circular M54/91 and also the Codes of Good Practice outlined in the Cooney/Carey "School Books in Ireland” report which was issued to schools in 1994. The Book Grant for needy pupils may be used to pay the rental charges for such pupils, In the case of schools designated as disadvantaged an additional seed capital allocation may be provided to assist in the establishment of book loan rental schemes for needy pupils.
4. Application for allocation under the scheme
4.1 Applications should be submitted on the form accompanying this circular. The fund will be allocated on the basis of applications received by 8th May 1998. Late applications risk being excluded from consideration.
4.2 Applications may be submitted by each secondary, community and comprehensive school. Each VEC should submit an application in respect of its scheme as a whole based on information received from its second level schools.
5. Allocation of grants to VECs / Schools
5.1 As indicated above, it has been agreed to arrange for the earlier issue of grant allocations in 1998/9 as requested by school management authorities. Previously, allocations were based on the number of needy pupils submitted by schools / VECs at the start of the school year. To enable the issue of allocations prior to the start of 1998/9 school year, the allocation will be based on the number of eligible pupils assisted in 1997/8.
5.2 Arrangements to ensure the more equitable allocation of grants between schools were introduced 1994/95 and will continue to be phased in during 1998/99.
6. Copies of Circular
Please provide a copy of this circular to the appropriate representatives of parents and teachers for transmission to individual parents and teachers.
Con Haugh,

Principal Officer. 17th April, 1998

School Books for Needy Pupils Grant Scheme

Application by School / VEC for Grant Allocation 1998/9

Name of applicant school / VEC

School Roll number



Number of eligible pupils assisted 1997/8


(para 2.3 of CL refers)


PLC **

2nd level

  1. From families mainly dependant on social welfare

2. From families on low income

3. From families experiencing particular hardship because of particular circumstances @


Note **: PLC students who will have access to student support grants will not be eligible in 1998/9.

Note @: No more than 2% of total enrolment will be reckoned under category 3.


(to be completed in respect of schools which are designated as disadvantaged)
(a) Do you currently operate a Book Loan Scheme for needy pupils? YES/NO

(b) If not, would you be interested in operating one? YES/NO

Signature of Principal / CEO: Date:

Completed Forms must be returned to Department of Education and Science, Post-Primary Administration, Hawkins House, Dublin 2 as soon as possible but no later than 8th May, 1998.

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