Pupils told to bring own toilet paper to school

Pupils in a Irish school are being asked to bring their own toilet paper to school to help offset funding cutbacks.

The principal of St John's Girls National School in Carrigaline, County Cork, confirmed she had sent out a memo to parents last week requesting that their daughters occasionally bring a roll of toilet paper to give to the class teacher, who would dispense the rolls to students when needed.





The bizarre request is part of the school's cost-containment programme so that dwindling state funding can be better spent on education, says principal Catherine O'Neill.





She refused to divulge the school's annual budget but said that the Government's abolition of various grants was behind the request.





The letter, dated 1 October, reads: "Dear parent. From time to time we will request your daughter to bring in a toilet roll to her class teacher. These rolls will be specifically for your daughter's class and will be dispensed by the class teacher. We would also request that your daughter has tissues in her sack at all times. This is due to cutbacks. we are endeavouring to trim down expenses and ensure we use our grants towards the educational needs of your child."





She stressed that the request was just that, and pupils were not obliged to comply.





"We thought with this request that it wouldn't be a burden on families. We're just hoping to spend money on education," she said.





"We're all aware of cutbacks. We didn't mean to insult anyone. It's kind of humorous," she said, adding she didn't believe her school was the first to make such a request.





But a parent of one pupil said he was astonished when he got the letter last week.





"Are things really this bad? This is like something Frank McCourt might have written about growing up in the 1930s," he said. "I was flabbergasted."









Irish National Teachers' Organisation spokesman Peter Mullan said many schools were reeling under funding cutbacks and parents were being asked to shoulder an even greater burden of their child's educational costs.





Despite the Government increasing the capitation grant to cover basic operating costs in the last budget, other grants have been removed. They include the free-book scheme for low-income students, the school library grant and a special grant for Traveller children, he says.





"Two years ago, the Government promised to spend €252m to upgrade computers but not a cent has been spent on them," he said.





Consequently, parents are being asked to hold fundraising drives in order to pay for basic upgrades of their school's computer system, he says.





Students are also being asked to bring items like egg cartons and yoghurt containers to use for art class, he says.





"Parents were being asked to fund superficial things but now they're being asked to pay the core things," he said.





"It's no longer a few books or computer equipment. It's now for basic running costs," he said.





The Department of Education, however, said that schools were now getting more funding for basic operating costs after the capitation grant was increased last year to €200 per student.





He added that St John's Girls school had received close to €379,000 in state funding for its 540 pupils since January 2008.





"The school has not come to the department about any financial difficulty," he said.

Source Irish Independent

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
John Rees-Evans is standing for Ukip in Cardiff South and Penarth
news
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
Sport
David Silva, Andy Carroll, Arsene Wenger and Radamel Falcao
football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photo Booth Host

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company offers London's best photo booth ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers



£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Service Engineers ...

Recruitment Genius: Project Director / Operations Director

£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an incredible opportunity for a ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Administrator is requir...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'