Minister for Education Richard Bruton has said he has identified three core areas of focus in the sector, including helping children with special needs, supporting schools and building a stronger bridge between education and the workplace.

Opening a Dáil debate on revised estimates, Mr Bruton said education represented 17% of gross government spending, adding that €600 million has been allocated for capital projects with 116 major projects under construction or due to start in 2016.

2,250 teachers would be employed this September, he said.

Responding to Labour TD Joan Burton, who urged that the Peter Cassells’ report into funding the Third Level sector be published, the minister said he would be bringing the report to the House soon.