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Request for Research Tender

Understanding the structure and adequacy of school funding in Ireland

The Society of St Vincent de Paul is inviting tenders from qualified researchers or consultants for a project which assesses the structure and adequacy of school funding in Ireland.


Education costs are one of the main reasons people request help from SVP and we see access to education as the key enabler out of poverty. Last year SVP spent over €4.5 million supporting children, young people and second chance learners to access education. It is the experience of our members that requests from schools for voluntary contributions causes significant stress and financial worry for families.

A core aim of the policy work of SVP is to advocate for short and long-term measures to ensure that current and future cohorts of students can participate in school on an equal footing regardless of their parent’s economic status.
In this context, SVP wishes to find out more about the structure and adequacy of school funding in Ireland and the factors that drive school fundraising and requests for voluntary contributions.  To date, there has been no assessment of the adequacy of the capitation grant and there are no clear guidelines on how rates are currently determined and set.

Research Objectives

The purpose of this research is to assess the adequacy of the capitation grant to schools, identify the ways in which schools are funded and set out how schools utilise state funding.

The research should address the following objectives: 

  • Establish what it costs to provide a place for a student in school for 1 year (excluding the cost of books, extracurricular activities and school meals) and the main factors that impact on these costs.
  • Establish how the capitation grant is currently utilised by schools, identify where the current gaps in funding are and examine how voluntary contributions and fundraising are used to bridge those gaps.
  • Describe the main sources of funding to different types of schools from the Department of Education and Skills and other bodies (ETBs etc).
  • Describe and analyse other funding sources and grants to schools from the DES (e.g book grants, DESI grant).
  • Identify the differences in the funding structure between primary and secondary schools.
  • Identify the differences in the funding structure between different types of post-primary schools (voluntary, vocational, community and comprehensive schools)
  • Applicants should outline in their proposals how they will ensure that the research will provide both the breadth and depth of information necessary to meet the objectives of the research as outlined above.

The total budget available for this project is of €25,000 (inclusive of VAT) and it is expected it would be completed by the end of Q4 2020.

Any queries should be directed to Marcella Stakem,  or 01 8848225
The deadline for receipt of completed proposals is the 1ST of March 2020 and can be sent to the email address above.

Full request for tender document

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