Measures to reduce the student teacher ratio by 1 point to 23:1- with 370 extra teaching posts - have been announced.

Also on the teaching front, 686 additional teachers will be recruited to support those with special needs along with an additional 1,194 SNAs bringing the number to 20,300.

Free school books for primary school children has also been announced.

At third level, there will be a permanent reduction in student contribution fees by 500 euro.

It means it will cost 2500 euro to attend university, while Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath says there will be changes to the grant system also with increase of between 10 and 14 per cent in student grant. Meanwhile the Postgrad grant will increase by 500 euro.

For those who decide to do an apprenticeship, there will be funding for an extra 4,800 additional apprentice placements.

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