The body representing fee-charging schools has urged the Government not to introduce further cuts in the sector in next month's budget.

Publishing a pre-Budget submission, the Joint Managerial Body said forcing these schools to join the free education system would cost the State money.

It said it was a mischaracterisation to claim fee-charging schools were elitist.

The Principal of St Gerard's School in Bray said parents made enormous sacrifices to send their children to these schools.

Parent Barbara Broderick said parents were looking for equality for their children.

The State pays for one teacher for every 23 students in fee-charging schools. That compares to one per 19 students in the free education sector.