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Eurydice

EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Early childhood and school education funding

Poland

3.Funding in education

3.1Early childhood and school education funding

Last update: 22 January 2024

Funding

ECEC for children up to 3

Crèches, kids’ clubs and day-care providers 

Funding for care provided to children aged up to 3 years at crèches, kids’ clubs and day-care provider settings comes primarily from:

  • budgets of communes (gmina) and other local government units (LGUs), and

  • targeted (specific-purpose) grants from the State budget.

Financial support for the establishment and operation of childcare settings is also provided by EU structural funds (as part of regional operational programmes).

Additionally, since 2018, care for children aged up to 3 years has been funded by the Labour Fund. The Fund provides grants for specific purposes, covering, for example, expenses related to active and passive labour market policies.

Pursuant to the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 Years (ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3), communes may receive targeted State-budget grants for their statutory childcare tasks, based on public finance regulations. Such grants are subject to special accounting rules. They are provided as funding or co-funding for specific public tasks. The commune’s own contribution is often required to receive such a grant.

Targeted State-budget grants and Labour Fund grants may also be awarded to any other entities operating in accordance with the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 Years. These include LGUs, public institutions, natural persons, legal persons (including higher education institutions) and organisations which have no legal personality.

Grants are awarded under ministerial and governmental programmes for the development of care settings for children up to 3 years of age. Programmes are developed and financially supported by the minister responsible for family affairs. Currently, such opportunities are offered by the 2022-2029 Toddler+ Programmes (MALUCH+ 2022-2029), under which PLN 1.2 billion (MEUR 261) will be distributed in 2023.

Nannies

Pursuant to the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 Years, care for children in this age group may also be provided by nannies. This is based on a nanny contract which, in accordance with the Civil Code, is subject to regulations applicable to civil law contracts (a ‘contract of mandate’).

Public funding is available for hiring nannies. Since 2018, the level of financial support has been lower than in the previous years. The National Social Security Institution pays social security contributions for nannies, including pension, disability pension, accident and health insurance contributions. The contribution is based on the amount that may not be higher than 50% (100% earlier) of the minimum salary set in accordance with the national legislation on the minimum wage. Where the salary is higher than the minimum level, parents (as social security contribution payers) pay social security contributions for the surplus amount.

The school education system (nursery schools, and schools)

Local government units (LGUs) have specific school education tasks which cover education and care, including special education and prevention of social problems. Funding for such tasks is provided in accordance with the Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks (ustawa o finansowaniu zadań oświatowych) and the Act on Revenues of Local Government Units (ustawa o dochodach jednostek samorządu terytorialnego).  

Funding for school education tasks, including salaries for teachers and the operation of preschool education institutions, schools and other educational institutions, is secured as part of revenues of LGUs.  

School education is funded primarily from the following sources:

Taking into consideration all their revenues and tasks, LGUs determine, in their budgetary resolutions, the total amount of expenditure on school education and its distribution. As the school administering bodies that provide funding for activities of schools and other educational institutions, LGUs are responsible for the preparation of an income and expenditure plan (financial plan) for all institutions which they administer.

Nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions established and administered by LGUs are budgetary units. As such, they are organisational units of the public finance sector which do not have legal personality, and which cover their expenses directly from the budget of the LGU concerned and transfer any revenues back to this budget.

Funds earmarked in the financial plan, which is subject to consultation with the council of a given school or educational institution, are managed by the head of the school or institution who takes responsibility for their proper use.

As all other public-sector units, public educational institutions are required to manage public funds in accordance with the rules laid down in the Act on Public Finance (ustawa o finansach publicznych).

Funding system for school education in Poland 

Finanse1_PL

Source: Author’s elaboration.

School education part of the general subsidy from the State budget

The school education part of the general State-budget subsidy is the main source of funding for school education tasks carried out by local government units (LGUs) at the level of the commune (gmina), district (powiat) and province (województwo).

The amount of the subsidy is determined and distributed in two stages.

First, the amount of the school education part of the general subsidy for all LGUs is set in an annual Budgetary Act. The legislation guarantees that the amount may never be lower than that specified in the Act of the previous year, and it is adjusted to include an amount for other expenses to be incurred as a result of changes in school education tasks to be performed.

In 2023, the school education part of the general subsidy for LGUs (communes, districts and local government bodies at regional / province level) amounted to PLN 64 billion (around EUR 14 billion) in total.

Subsequently, the minister responsible for school education establishes, by regulation, an algorithm for the distribution of the school education part of the subsidy among individual LGUs. The algorithm takes into consideration the range of school education tasks carried out by LGUs, except for the tasks related to:

  • the transport of pupils;

  • the provision of education and care to pupils aged 5 and below in nursery schools and other preschool education settings which are not involved in special education and do not offer rehabilitation-and-education classes (it should be noted, however, that the tasks related to preschool education have been supported by targeted (specific-purpose) State-budget grants since 2013, and preschool education for 6-year-olds has been included in the algorithm since 2017);

  • the financing of a ‘new-entrant allowance’ (świadczenie na start),  which has been paid since 2019 to teachers who undertakes an induction period leading to the award of the contract teacher grade (since 2022, teachers undertaking an induction period are referred to as novice teachers).

The distribution should take into consideration, in particular, the following criteria:

  • types of schools administered by LGUs;

  • teachers' professional promotion grades;

  • the numbers of pupils in schools and other educational institutions.

Since 2017, amounts allocated for children in preschool education and children and young people in full-time and part-time compulsory education should vary according to the type of educational institution and the size of the location (city / town / village) where it is situated. Furthermore, since 2019, amounts allocated for pupils in vocational education have varied depending on the forecast demand (surplus or shortage) for workers practising a given occupation on the national or regional (province-level) labour market in relation to the number of candidates seeking a job. It is also obligatory now to take into consideration the financial situation of LGUs. 

In 2020, a new requirement was introduced to differentiate the amounts allocated for pupils in vocational education who are trained for occupations of particular importance to national culture and heritage (the list includes, for example, carpenter, leatherworker,  chimney sweep, stove fitter or apiarist). In 2020, the algorithm for the distribution of the school education part of the general subsidy was also revised to include, for the first time, learners in stage II sectoral vocational schools. The changes introduced between 2021 and 2022 involved, for example, increased funding for so-called small schools and non-affluent LGUs; increased expenditure on special educational centres; and a modified scheme for adult education funding.

The algorithm for the distribution of the subsidy, which was introduced in 2000, has evolved since then, but its overall structure has not changed.

The school education part of the general subsidy includes the following four components:

  • a contingency part of the subsidy;

  • the basic amount for school tasks;

  • a supplementary amount for school tasks;

  • an amount for out-of-school tasks.

The starting point in the algorithm is the so-called Standard A, that is the amount that an LGU receives per pupil. In 2023, Standard A was equal to PLN 6,899 (EUR 1,064).

The algorithm is based on the actual number of pupils, increased by a system of weightings and an adjustment index to ensure that the amount of the subsidy is better adjusted to the real scale of school education tasks.

The weightings take into consideration:

  • specific conditions in a school and an LGU (for example, rural areas, small towns, small schools);

  • variety and specificity of school tasks (for example, special and integrated education; vocational education for specific sectors of the economy; sports schools; education for national and ethnic minorities; art education);

  • variety and specificity of out-of-school tasks (for example, boarding facilities; special nursery schools; preschool education for children who have reached the age of 6; leisure facilities, care centres and youth hostels).

The number of weightings used in the algorithm grew from 21 in 2000 to 93 in 2023. 

The adjustment index takes into consideration teachers' professional promotion grades. The index allows allocating relatively higher amounts from the school education part of the general subsidy to LGUs which have a larger proportion of teachers with highest professional promotion grades than the national average as this implies higher expenses on teacher salaries in individual LGUs.

The funding mechanism for school education tasks described above applies to LGUs at all levels, including the commune (gmina), district (powiat) and province (województwo). Thus, it covers stages of education from primary to post-primary education.

In accordance with the Act on the Revenues of Local Government Units (ustawą o dochodach jednostek samorządu terytorialnego), the decision-making body of an LGU decides on the allocation of funds received as part of the general subsidy. Thus, LGUs do not have to allocate the subsidy for education-related purposes, nor do they have to follow the distribution algorithm in their further allocation decisions.

However, the Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks (ustawa o finansowaniu zadań oświatowych) provides for one important exception to the general rules; it concerns the minimum amount of funding to be allocated by LGUs for tasks related to special education and rehabilitation-and-education classes. The amount for such tasks may not be lower than the amount allocated within the school education part of the general subsidy to a given LGU for pupils or learners participating in rehabilitation-and-education classes in nursery schools, schools and other educational institutions administered by the LGU concerned.

While complying with these requirements, communes, districts and provinces determine the level of their expenditure on school education depending on the range and types of all tasks to be carried out (not only those related to school education), their total budget and all revenues. In practice, however, the school education subsidy plays a major role here.

Targeted (specific-purpose) State-budget grants

In addition to funding from the school education part of the general subsidy, local government units (LGUs) may receive targeted grants for specific public tasks. Such grants are subject to special accounting rules. LGUs’ own contribution is often required to apply for such a targeted grant.

LGUs can receive a targeted State-budget grant for their statutory tasks; for example, for maintenance-type financial support or investment projects in schools and other educational institutions. They also receive grants for their statutory tasks related to the payment of maintenance-type benefits as part of financial support. Since 2019, the level of such grants has varied depending on the financial situation of a commune.

Moreover, since 2013, LGUs have received targeted grants for preschool education tasks; at the same time, limits have been set for fees to be charged to parents (see the relevant section below). In the past, preschool education was not compulsory, except in a few cases, and thus the funding system for school education tasks described above did not take into consideration the costs of preschool education.

A grant may be used only as a contribution towards current expenses related to preschool education tasks.

The amount of a grant for a given LGU is calculated as the annual amount multiplied by the number of pupils who reach the age of 5 or a lower age in the reference year and attend preschool education institutions which are administered by the LGU and for which the LGU is the registration body (the body which keeps the register of preschool education institutions in a given jurisdiction). The grant is proportionately reduced in case a given LGU does not provide preschool education places to all children as required.

In 2023, the annual grant per pupil, regardless of the duration of stay in a preschool institution, is PLN 1,607 (EUR 349). The limit of expenditure for this purpose set for 2023 was around PLN 1.75 billion (MEUR 380).

Primary and lower-secondary school pupils have gradually gained free access to textbooks, educational resources and exercise materials for compulsory general education classes. Thus, since 2014, LGUs have received an additional targeted State-budget grant for the purchase of textbooks and educational resources.

The limit of expenditure for this purpose in 2023 is around PLN 448 million (MEUR 97.4).

Related legislation:

 

Financial autonomy and control

Schools are considered to have full or substantial autonomy if they are fully responsible for their decisions within the limits or general framework set by the legislation on education.

Schools have partial autonomy if they can choose from a number of predetermined options or if their decisions should be approved by education authorities.

School autonomy can be considered with regard to three basic dimensions:

  • use of public funds;

  • acquisition and use of private funds;

  • staff policy.

ECEC for children aged up to 3 years

Crèches and kids’ clubs have limited autonomy.

Detailed legislation on childcare for children up to 3 years of age does not, in fact, refer directly to the extent of powers or responsibilities of crèche heads or persons managing kids’ clubs. It states only that internal organisation of a crèche or kids’ club is determined in organisational regulations adopted by the head of a crèche or the person managing a kids’ club, and that they take responsibility for the implementation of the regulations adopted. Organisational regulations set the working hours of a crèche or kids’ club, taking into consideration feedback from parents.

At the same time, the legislation clearly puts an emphasis on the tasks of local government units (LGUs) relating to care for children aged up to 3 years.

Pursuant to the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 Years (ustawa o opiece nad dziećmi w wieku do lat 3), it is the entity establishing a crèche or kids’ club (which, for public settings, is an LGU in most cases) that adopts its statutes. The statutes define:

  • aims and tasks and methods for their implementation, including support for individual development of the child and support for the family in child raising, with special regard to the type of disability for disabled children;

  • conditions for enrolling children, including preference given to large families and children with disabilities;

  • rules for setting fees for stay and meals in the case of the child’s non-attendance at a crèche or kids’ club;

  • rules for parents’ participation in the activities of a crèche or kids’ club.

Moreover, as a local government body, the head of a commune or mayor of a town / city (wójt, burmistrz or prezydent miasta) monitors compliance with statutory requirements and the conditions and quality of childcare services provided. Supervision is based on a supervision plan adopted by a resolution of the council of the commune. In practice, however, the only sanction provided for in law is that an institution can be struck off from the register of crèches and kids’ clubs or an agreement with a day-care provider can be terminated without a period of notice.

LGUs also prepare a financial plan for a given childcare institution. Budgetary resolutions adopted by LGUs are reviewed by the Regional Chambers of Auditors and should comply with the rules for the management of public funds. The principle of openness and related reporting responsibilities are particularly important in this respect.

Communes and other entities which administer crèches or kids’ club or employ a day-care provider are also required to draw up reports on the care for children aged up to 3 years.

Crèches and kids’ clubs have greater autonomy with regard to staff policy, including the recruitment, dismissal and remuneration of, and disciplinary measures for, child minders. In this respect, they should, however, take into consideration qualification requirements laid down by the Act on the Care for Children aged up to 3 years and the maximum number of children per child minder specified in the Act.

School education system (nursery schools, and schools)

School autonomy in Poland is limited and its extent depends largely on the model of collaboration with the body administering a given school.

Use of public funds

Schools in Poland are free to manage current expenditure within the framework of approved financial plans.

Some local government units (LGUs) delegate the powers to amend financial plans to school heads. Other units limit this possibility to changes within a given budget heading or require that any changes should be made in the form of a budgetary resolution.

The School Education Act (ustawa o systemie oświaty) also states that the bodies administering schools or other educational institutions can establish financial and administrative support units for schools and institutions or provide administrative, financial and organisational services to all administered schools and institutions jointly. In practice, this leads to the concentration of powers in this respect above the school level.

Capital expenditure falls within the remit of local government. LGUs formally take any decisions regarding the purchase of fixed assets, but such decisions are often taken on the school’s own initiative or inspired by them, and thus the school has a degree of influence here.

Acquisition and use of private funds

Schools in Poland are not allowed to take loans.

Schools should obtain consent from the school administering body to raise and use private funds. It is the LGU that identifies budgetary units which should collect revenues and sources from which revenues are kept on the relevant account. It also determines the use of such funds and procedures for preparing and approving the financial plan, and for making and approving amendments to the plan.

In accordance with the Act on Public Finance (ustawa o finansach publicznych), educational institutions keep their own revenues in a separate bank account. Such revenues, as specified in a resolution by the decision-making body of the LGU, include, in particular, funds from the following sources:

  • inheritance,

  • in-cash bequests and donations,

  • payments for lost or damaged assets which are managed or used by a given educational institution;

  • delivery of vocational education services.

In the case of local-government budget entities which provide vocational education, in-cash income gained from inheritance, bequests and donations for vocational education purposes and from vocational education services are allocated for vocational education provided by such entities.

Funds left in the account at the end of the budgetary year should be transferred to the budget of the LGU concerned.

Staff policy

Schools have full autonomy with regard to non-teaching staff.

With regard to teaching staff, schools have full autonomy in the recruitment, dismissal and use of disciplinary measures, while their freedom in setting the level of salaries is limited.

The Teachers' Charter (ustawa – Karta Nauczyciela) sets the following two main requirements in this respect:

  • the minimum rates of basic teacher salaries depending on teachers' professional promotion grades, as laid down in a separate Regulation: since February 2023, for teachers holding a Master’s degree and a pedagogical qualification, the rates have ranged from PLN 3,690 (EUR 802) for a novice teacher to PLN 4,550 (EUR 989) for a chartered teacher (the highest professional promotion grade);

  • the level of the average total monthly salary for teachers holding a given professional grade within the jurisdiction of a given school-administering body; the levels range from 120% of the reference amount in the case of a novice teacher to 184% of the reference amount in the case of a chartered teacher. The reference amount is specified annually in the Budgetary Act. The amount set in September 2023 is PLN 3,981.55 (EUR 865,6).

 

In practice, payment for overtime and ad-hoc replacement hours and the level of allowances added to the basic salary are often used as instruments in the management of teaching staff. The allowances available include:

  • a length-of-service allowance;

  • a motivation allowance;

  • a function-related allowance, including an allowance for the function of class tutor, amounting to at least PLN 300 (EUR 65.2);

  • an allowance for mentoring a teacher undertaking an induction / probation period;

  • an allowance for working conditions.  

Teachers working in a village or town with up to 5,000 inhabitants are also entitled to an additional allowance of 10% of the basic salary. 

In 2019, a one-off new-entrant allowance of PLN 1,000 (EUR 219.8) was introduced for trainee teachers (currently, novice teachers). However, it is not counted towards the amount of the salary of the teacher.

Regulations on teacher remuneration are adopted by the school administering body.

LGUs may allocate more funding for teacher salaries and use it to raise the minimum rates of the basic salary and the minimum level of an allowance for the class-tutor function. School administering bodies may also authorise school heads, in individual cases and within the limits set by the school’s financial plan, to set a minimum rate of the basic salary which is higher than the one specified in the national legislation or is increased by the administering body.

Compliance with the requirements concerning average salaries for teachers is subject to audit by the Regional Chambers of Auditors.

The recruitment process for the position of school head is conducted jointly by representatives of the school, the school administering body, the body exercising pedagogical supervision (the head of the Regional Education Authorities in most cases) and trade unions.  

The limited autonomy of schools stems from the fact that decentralisation processes in Poland led in the late 1990s to the transfer of many tasks to LGUs, also in the area of school education, and, for obvious reasons, were combined with the granting of considerable autonomy to LGUs. LGUs at the commune (gmina), district (powiat) and province (województwo) levels are now responsible for local planning and financing of school education tasks. Their tasks include, in particular:

  • management of the school network;

  • capital investment projects in the area of education;

  • adoption of teacher remuneration regulations;

  • transport of pupils to schools;

  • adoption of financial plans for educational institutions.

Pursuant to the Law on School Education (ustawa – Prawo oświatowe), each year the executive body of an LGU submits a report on the implementation of school education tasks to the legislative body of the LGU. The report also covers results of external examinations, activities undertaken by schools as part of the education for pupils with special educational needs, and pedagogical supervision activities.

As the administering bodies, LGUs supervise educational institutions with regard to financial and administrative matters, in particular proper management of State-budget funds and funds obtained from other sources, and with regard to asset management.

At the same time, LGUs at the commune and district levels have very limited powers in pedagogical supervision, which is currently exercised by the Head of the Regional Education Authorities (REA) (kurator oświaty). In accordance with the school education legislation, the body administering a school or another educational institution can only submit proposals concerning education- and childcare-related matters to the head of the school or institution and the Head of the REA.

The powers of LGUs as local education policy leaders focus on the input side rather than on the output side. Formally, LGUs have no instruments to assess or monitor quality and outcomes achieved by schools. In practice, however, they can do so through (rewarding or penalising) financial decisions.

It should also be noted that decisions regarding the level of school education expenditure and its distribution, specified in a budgetary resolution, are reviewed by the Regional Chambers of Auditors and should comply with the rules for the management of public funds. The principle of openness and related reporting responsibilities are particularly important in this respect.

In 2016, the role of Heads of the REAs in administering the nursery school and school network was also strengthened by the re-established requirement to obtain a positive opinion from the pedagogical supervision body on the network of public schools and in the case of liquidation of a school or another educational institution administered by an LGU.

In 2017, the remit of Heads of the REAs was extended so that they also give opinions on so-called organisational sheets of public schools and institutions with regard to their legal compliance.

Related legislation:

Fees within public education

ECEC for children up to 3

Parents are required to pay fees for the stay and meals provided to their children at a crèche or a kids club, or by a day-care provider.

Fees for the stay of children at a crèche or kids’ club established by a local government unit (LGU) or at a day-care provider hired by an LGU and the maximum fee for meals are set by the commune council, district council or the regional parliament in a resolution. The same bodies follow the same procedure to lay down conditions for partial or full fee waiver.

When establishing a crèche or a kids’ club, an LGU adopts its statutes, laying down, in particular, conditions for the payment for stay and meals during the child’s absence.

Where this is justified and upon an extra payment, the duration of day-care may be extended beyond regular 10 hours a day at the request of the child’s parent.

School education system (nursery schools, and schools)

Nursery schools

Parents of children aged under 6 years who stay in nursery schools for more than 5 hours a day usually pay for extra time and additional classes.

The rules for charging, and levels of, such fees are laid down by the council of the commune (gmina), but in 2023 the maximum fee is PLN 1.30 (EUR 0.3) per hour. In 2019, one hour was defined more precisely as every commenced hour of the child’s actual stay in a nursery school, preschool education class or another preschool education setting.

The council of the commune can also determine the conditions for full or partial fee waiver.

Parents also pay for meals.

Pursuant to the Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks (ustawa o finansowaniu zadań oświatowych), publicly funded nursery schools, primary schools with preschool education classes and other publicly funded preschool education settings are not allowed to charge fees higher than the amounts specified above.

Schools

Education in public schools is fee-free.

The parents' council established in a given school or educational institution can collect funds from parents' voluntary contributions and other sources. Funds of the parents' council can also be used for statutory activities of the school or institution. The rules for the use of such funds are laid down in the regulations adopted by the parents' council.

School canteens serve meals on a fee-paying basis. The school head, in consultation with the school administering body, lays down the rules for taking meals in canteens and the level of fees. Costs of school meals covered by parents do not include the salaries and related social security contributions for canteen staff and canteen running costs. The body administering a given school may waive, in whole or in part, fees paid by parents or adult learners who are in a particularly difficult financial situation and where this is particularly justified by unforeseen life circumstances.

Based on an arrangement put in place in 2015, public nursery schools may not charge fees for providing parents with education- and care-related information concerning their children.

Fees are charged for stay in a boarding house. The school head sets out conditions for stay in a boarding house, including fee rates for accommodation and meals, and payment dates and procedures, in consultation with the body administering a given school. As in the case of meals in canteens, the administering body may waive, in whole or in part, fees for accommodation in a boarding house.

Related legislation:

Financial support for learners' families

The main forms of support for families with children in Poland:

Type of support 

Form of support 

Cash allowances

Family benefit / allowance

Supplementary allowances added to a family benefit (for example, for expenses at the beginning of the school year; expenses incurred in raising a child in a large family; expenses related to the child attending a school or institution away from his/her permanent place of residence)

Child-raising allowance

‘Good Start’ allowance

Reliefs, benefits

Large Family Card

Family tax benefit

In-kind benefits and services

Transport to the nursery school/school

Textbooks and educational resources

Purchase of second-hand textbooks

Access to preventive healthcare and dental care

Boarding school / boarding house at school

School canteen

‘Meals at school and at home’ Programme

‘Programme for Schools’

Organisation of leisure for children and young people

Source: Author’s elaboration.

Cash allowances

In accordance with the Act on Family Benefits (ustawa o świadczeniach rodzinnych), families with children can receive family allowances (child benefits).

The family allowance is intended to contribute towards the costs of child subsistence.

The amount of the family allowance depends on the age of the child.

Age of the child

Amount of the allowance in PLN

Amount of the allowance in EUR

Up to 5 years

95

20.7

Over 5 years and up to the age of 18

124

27.0

Over 18 years and up to the age of 24

135

29.3

Family and supplementary allowances are granted where the per capita family income or the income of the learner does not exceed the income threshold which currently is PLN 674 (EUR 146.5) per month.

The income thresholds for the family allowance and the amount of individual family benefits are adjusted every 3 years, with results of surveys on support thresholds for families taken into consideration. The thresholds were adjusted in 2018 for the last time.

Family allowances may be granted to:

  • parents,

  • one of the parents,

  • a legal or real guardian of the child,

  • the learner.

Allowances are paid until:

  • the child reaches the age of 18 or until the end of school education, but not longer than up to the age of 21;

  • the child reaches the age of 24 if he / she continues education in a school or higher education institution and has a certificate of moderate or severe disability.

In addition to the family allowance, the following supplementary allowances can be granted:

 

 

Type of supplementary allowance

Amount in PLN

Amount in EUR

For the birth of a child (a one-off allowance)

1,000

217.4

For expenses at the beginning of the school year (once in a school year)

100

21.7

For raising the child in a large family (for the third child and subsequent children)

95

20.6

For the child attending school away from his/her place of residence For the child living away from his/her permanent place of residence, in a place where the educational institution attended is situated

113

24.6

For the child travelling to the school / educational institution

69

15

Since 2016, the amounts of family and supplementary allowances have been calculated in a different way in case the income threshold for the family allowance is exceeded (the so-called 1 PLN for 1 PLN mechanism). The mechanism provides for gradual reduction of the amount paid rather than immediate termination of allowance payment when the income obtained exceeds the threshold.

Since 2016, families with children have received a child-raising allowance (The Family 500+ Programme). It is intended to contribute towards the costs of raising a child, including those related to childcare and catering to his/her needs.

The allowance amounts to PLN 500 (EUR 108.7) per month and per child.

The child-raising allowance is granted for every child regardless of the family income.

The child-raising allowance is granted to:

  • the mother or father where the child lives together with the mother or father and is her / his dependent;

  • the actual guardian of the child where the child lives together with the guardian and is his / her dependent;

  • the legal guardian of the child;

  • the head of a social welfare home.

The child-raising allowance is granted for children until they reach the age of 18.

The child-raising allowance is not granted if, for example:

  • the child is married;

  • the child has been placed in an institution providing round-the-clock maintenance or in foster care;

  • the child who has reached the age of majority is eligible to receive a child-raising allowance for his / her own child.

Under the government programme ‘Good Start’, established in 2018, families receive a one-off allowance of PLN 300 (EUR 65.2) in connection with the beginning of the school year.

Families are eligible to receive the allowance regardless of their income.

The allowance is granted to children and young people attending primary and post-primary schools until they reach the age of 20. Where children have a disability certificate, the allowance is granted until they reach the age of 24 and is available also to those who receive education in a rehabilitation-and education centre.

The allowance is not granted to children who start one preschool preparatory year nor to higher education students.

Reliefs and benefits

A system of reliefs and additional benefits for large families, the so-called Large Family Card, has been in place since 2014.

The Card is available to families where parents, regardless of their income, have or had at least 3 dependent children, regardless of their age. It is issued free of charge to each member of a large family. A card is issued by the head of a commune or mayor of a town/city (wójt,burmistrz or prezydent miasta).

The validity period of the Card:

  • parents can use the Card with no time limits;

  • children may use the Card until they reach the age of 18 or until the end of education, but no longer than up to the age of 25;

  • persons with a certificate of moderate or severe disability receive the Card for the validity period of the certificate, and the age limits specified above are not applicable.

The Polish tax system also provides for a family tax benefit. The tax benefit can be granted for:

  • children below the age of 18;

  • children, regardless of their age, who received a nursing allowance or disability pension; 

  • 18-year-old and older children up to the age of 25 who were enrolled in a school or higher education institution and did not have income exceeding a fixed limit.

The tax benefit is available not only to parents but also to legal guardians and persons acting in the capacity of foster family.

In 2023, the amounts of benefits are as follows:

 

Monthly benefit amount in PLN

Annual benefit amount in PLN (total for all children)

Monthly benefit amount in EUR

Annual benefit amount in EUR (total for all children)

For the first child

92.67

1,112.04

20.1

241.7

For the second child

92.67

2,224.08

20.1

483.5

For the third child

166.67

4,224.12

36.2

918.3

For the fourth and each subsequent child

225.00

6,924.12

48.9

1,505.24

 

However, families with one non-disabled child are granted a tax benefit if they meet the income threshold criterion. The threshold depends on marital status and currently is:

  • PLN 56,000 (EUR 12,174) for persons who are not married and are not lone parents;

  • PLN 112,000 (EUR 24,348) for persons who are married or are lone parents.

Where the amount of the benefit that a taxpayer is entitled to is higher than the amount that can be actually deducted from the tax, the taxpayer is entitled to receive the balance. In other words, the taxpayer may apply for the reimbursement of the unused benefit (if the amount of the unused benefit does not exceed the total deductible amount of social security contributions paid by the taxpayer).

Pupils are also entitled to reduced fares for public transport and discount tickets to cinemas, theatres, etc.

In-kind benefits and services

Transport

The school education legislation states that the network of preschool education institutions and primary schools should be organised so as to enable all children to participate in preschool education, one-year compulsory preparatory preschool education and full-time compulsory education.

The distance to the school or educational institution should not exceed:

  • 3 km for nursery school children and children in grades I to IV of the primary school (szkoła podstawowa);

  • 4 km for children in grades V to VIII of the primary school.

If the distance from the child’s home to the school or educational institution, within the catchment area where the child lives, exceeds the limit, the commune (gimna) is required to provide free transport and care during transport or reimburse the costs of public transport.

Until the child reaches the age of 7, public transport costs are also reimbursed for his / her guardian or carer.

Textbooks

Since 2014, pupils in public primary schools and art schools providing general education at the primary level have had free access to textbooks, educational resources and exercise materials for compulsory general-education classes which are included in outline timetables for these types of schools. Pupils borrow them in a printed version free of charge or have free access to them in an electronic version. Providing schools with such textbooks, resources and materials is a central-government task delegated to, and performed by, local government units (LGUs) which administer or register these types of schools. Thus, LGUs receive a targeted State-budget grant for this purpose from the province governor.

Pursuant to the School Education Act (ustawa o systemie oświaty), the school head is also required to make arrangements for the purchase of second-hand textbooks within the school. Thus, schools often organise second-hand textbook fairs where textbooks can be bought at lower prices.

Health care

As part of their statutory tasks, public schools should ensure access for pupils to health prevention practice or surgery in accordance with the statutory requirements for guaranteed services to be provided by a school nurse or hygienist.

Pupils, except learners enrolled in schools for adults, are covered by preventive healthcare.

The Act on Healthcare for Pupils (ustawa o opiece zdrowotnej nad uczniami) passed in 2019 aims to increase the availability of healthcare, and, in particular, dental care. Pursuant to the Act, dental care is provided to pupils until they reach the age of 19. It comprises guaranteed general dental care and prevention services, except for orthodontics, for children and young people. The Act also aims to improve the coordination of activities and communication among the people taking care of pupils.

Funding for healthcare provided to pupils is set aside in the financial plan of the National Health Fund (Narodowy Fundusz Zdrowia). The funding rules, method and conditions for healthcare for pupils are laid down in the legislation on publicly funded healthcare services. 

Accommodation

The school may provide a boarding house to ensure that childcare-related tasks are properly carried out, and in particular to support proper development of pupils attending school away from the place of their permanent residence.

Fees are charged for such services. The body administering a given school may waive, in whole or in part, fees for accommodation in a boarding house for families in a particularly difficult financial situation or where this is justified by unforeseeable life circumstances.

Meals

To support proper development of pupils, the school can provide a canteen. Fees are charged for meals in the school canteen. However, the school administering body can reduce fees or charge no fees from parents or pupils in a particularly difficult financial or life situation.

The Government has adopted a multiannual programme ‘Meals at school and at home’ (Posiłek w szkole i w domu) for the years 2019-2023. The Programme is funded by the State budget, and the total amount to be allocated to the Programme is PLN 2.75 billion (MEUR 597.8).

The Programme aims to provide meals to children, young people and pupils and extend support to adults, in particular elderly, sick or disabled and lonely people. Support is available in the form of a meal, cash allowance for a meal or food, or an in-kind benefit in the form of food products. The Programme also offers financial support to school administering bodies in setting up a canteen and space for eating meals, which will help to enhance the care-providing function of the school.

Poland has also joined programmes initiated at EU level where fruit, vegetables and milk products are distributed in schools. In the school year 2017/.2018, the ongoing programmes were combined into one ‘Programme for Schools’ (Program dla szkół), carried out by the National Support Centre for Agriculture (Krajowy Ośrodek Wsparcia Rolnictwa).

Leisure

Each year, province governors (wojewoda) support leisure activities for children and young people from their budgets.

In this type of support, priority is given to children who:

  • are in foster care;

  • come from families in a difficult financial situation, including families with three or more children and lone-parent families;

  • suffer from somatic symptom disorders confirmed by a medical certificate;

  • live in areas of environmental degradation.

Children are recruited in cooperation with family support centres at the district level, welfare centres at the commune level and public benefit organisations operating at the local level.

Related legislation:

 

Financial support for families of pupils with special educational needs (SEN)

Families of pupils with special education needs (SEN) are entitled to the regular types of support described in the previous sections, but the criteria for access are often less stringent and greater support is offered. They also receive various additional benefits available only to them.

Families with disabled children are also beneficiaries of various national programmes and projects supported by the National Fund for the Rehabilitation of Disabled People (Państwowy Fundusz Rehabilitacji Osób Niepełnosprawnych, PFRON) and EU funds.

However, there is no public system of financial support for families of gifted and talented pupils in Poland.

The main forms of support for families of pupils with SEN in Poland:

Type of support 

Form of support 

Cash allowances

Family allowance: a higher income threshold and a longer period of eligibility

Supplementary allowances (for example, for the training and rehabilitation of a child with disability)

Nursing allowance

Nursing benefit, special care allowance and an allowance for the child’s guardian

Child-raising allowance: a higher income threshold

‘Good Start’ allowance: a longer period of eligibility

Reliefs, benefits

Rehabilitation tax benefit

In-kind benefits and services

Transport to the nursery school/school

School textbooks and supporting books

Government programme supporting pupils with disabilities: grants for the purchase of textbooks, educational resources and school exercise materials, 2020-2022 with its new 2023-25 edition

Source: Author’s elaboration

Cash allowances

Families with children who have a disability certificate, or a moderate or severe disability certificate are entitled to a family allowances in accordance with the same rules as described earlier, except that the income threshold does not apply to them as from 2013. The  family allowance is paid until the child with a disability reaches the age of 24 if he/she continues education in a school or higher education institution.

Families may also receive various supplementary allowances in addition to the family benefit, including a learning and rehabilitation allowance for a child with a disability. 

The allowance is granted to children up to 16 years of age if they have a disability certificate, or to children above 16 years until they reach the age of 24 if they have a moderate or severe disability certificate.

Amount of allowance 

In PLN (per month)

In EUR (per month)

For children up to the age of 5

90

19.6

For children aged 5-24 years

110

23.9

If holding a severe disability certificate, children and people with a disability above the age of 16 are entitled to a nursing allowance of PLN 215.84 (EUR 46.9).

Families may also receive a nursing benefit. It is available to parents or guardians who do not take up or who give up employment or other forms of paid work in order to take care of the child.

It is granted to the child who:

  • has a severe disability certificate; or

  • has a disability certificate, with a recommendation to provide permanent or long-term care due to the child’s limited independence in daily life, and to ensure everyday involvement of the child’s carer in the process of the child’s medical treatment, rehabilitation and education.

Currently, the benefit is PLN 2,458 (EUR 534.3) per month. Since 2017, the nursing benefit has been adjusted annually, with the amount increased by a percentage index corresponding to an increase in the minimum wage.

A nursing benefit is not means-tested / related to the income threshold. However, since 2013, it has been linked to the timing of the disability’s occurrence and the degree of kinship between the disabled child and the person who takes care of the child.

Such a benefit may be granted to the mother, father, real guardian, person acting as related foster family or another person who is required to provide maintenance, except for a person with a severe disability.

A special care allowance was additionally introduced in 2013. It is not linked to the time when the disability occurred but depends on the income threshold.

Families with children holding a disability certificate may receive a ‘Good Start’ (Dobry Start) allowance (see above) for a longer period, that is until the child reaches the age of 24.

Reliefs and benefits

Tax regulations in Poland provide for the so-called rehabilitation tax benefit, available to disabled persons or persons with disabled dependants (provided that their income does not exceed a fixed limit).

The tax benefit includes:

  • expenses on rehabilitation;

  • expenses incurred to support the disabled person in everyday life (for example, keeping a guide dog; purchasing publications and educational materials; adapting and equipping the household to cater to the disabled person’s needs).

Some of the expenses are subject to limitations.

People with a disability are entitled to various fare and fee reductions; for example, telecommunications and post charges or public transport fares.

In-kind benefits and services

Transport

In accordance with the Law on School Education (ustawa – Prawo oświatowe), the commune (gmina) (the lowest-level local government unit) competent for the place of residence of a pupil with a disability provides free transport and care during transport. In particular, the commune is required to provide:

  • for disabled 5- and 6-year-old and older children in preschool education: free transport and care during transport to the nearest nursery school, preschool education class, other preschool education setting or rehabilitation-and-education centre;

  • for disabled pupils in special education: free transport and care during transport to the nearest primary school, and also to the nearest post-primary school in the case of pupils with a motor disability or moderate or severe intellectual disability, but not longer than until they reach the age of 21;

  • for disabled children and young people with a severe intellectual disability who attend rehabilitation-and-care classes, and children and young people with multiple disabilities including an intellectual disability: free transport and care during transport to a rehabilitation-and-education centre, but not longer than until they reach the age of 25 or 24 respectively.

Textbooks

State-budget support is also provided for school textbooks, educational resources and supporting materials, adapted to the educational needs and psychological and physical abilities of pupils with disabilities. They are co-financed through targeted / specific-purpose grants awarded to local government units; and through contracts for the development, publication and distribution of textbooks, educational resources and exercise materials or supporting books, fully or partly financed by the minister responsible for school education.

Since 2020 ‘The government programme supporting pupils with disabilities: grants for the purchase of textbooks, learning resources and school exercise materials, 2023-2025”.(Rządowy program pomocy uczniom niepełnosprawnym w formie dofinansowania zakupu podręczników, materiałów edukacyjnych i materiałów ćwiczeniowych w latach 2023-2025) has been underway (two editions: 2020-22 and 2023-25). The Programme is targeted at the groups of pupils with the following disabilities:

  • visual impairment,

  • deafness,

  • hearing impairment,

  • a mild, moderate or severe intellectual disability,

  • a motoric disability, including aphasia,

  • autism, including the Asperger syndrome,

  • multiple disabilities which include one of the disabilities listed above.

Support aims to ensure equal educational opportunities, improve the quality of education provided to pupils with a disability and support their learning development. Between 2023 and 2025, the Programme will support around 183,020 pupils with a statement of special educational needs (SEN statement) (referred to in the legislation as ‘a statement on the need to provide special education’),

Eligible pupils are entitled to receive support regardless of income

Support involves reimbursing the costs of school textbooks for general education, including textbooks for special education, and vocational education textbooks, and educational resources and exercise materials for some pupils with a disability. Cost reimbursement is based on a proof of purchase (an invoice issued for the child, his / her parent or legal guardian, a receipt or a relevant statement). The amount reimbursed may not exceed the limits fixed for a given stage of education, which range from PLN 225 (EUR 48.9) to PLN 445 (EUR 96.7).

A total amount of PLN 69.7 million (MEUR 14.7) from the State-budget targeted reserve has been allocated to the Programme for the years 2023-2025.


 

 

Related legislation: 

 

Financial support for learners

The School Education Act (ustawa o systemie oświaty) provides financial support to pupils in order to reduce inequalities in access to education, eliminate barriers in access to education resulting from a difficult financial situation, and support the education of gifted learners..

Financial support can be of maintenance- or incentive-type, but learners can receive both types of benefits at the same time.

Forms of financial support for pupils in Poland in 2023:

Type of support 

Form of support 

Maintenance-type support

School grants

School allowances

Incentive-type support

Scholarships for learning or sporting achievements

Prime Minister’s scholarships

Scholarships awarded by the minister responsible for school education

Scholarships awarded by the minister responsible for culture and national heritage

Source: Author’s elaboration.

In accordance with the School Education Act, financial support is granted to:

  • pupils / learners in public schools, non-public schools, and non-public art schools with the public-school status, and to learners in public colleges of social work, until the end of training, but not longer than up to the age of 24;

  • pupils in public and non-public rehabilitation-and-care centres, until the end of part-time compulsory education.

Local government units (LGUs) can establish regional or local programmes to ensure equal educational opportunities and support the education of gifted children and young people. Incentive-type grants may also be awarded by natural persons and legal persons other than LGUs, on the basis of their internal regulations. Various foundations play an important role in this area by offering scholarship programmes to gifted pupils.

Maintenance-type support

Providing maintenance-type financial support is a statutory task of the commune (gmina) (the lowest-level local government unit).

To provide maintenance-type support, communes receive a targeted State-budgetgrant; 5% of the grant may be allocated for school allowances.

The council of the commune adopts the regulations for maintenance-type support for pupils living within its jurisdiction.

School grants

School grants may be awarded to pupils in a difficult financial situation resulting from a low monthly income in their family. This applies, in particular, to families with problems related to unemployment, disability, serious or chronic disease, a large number of children, the inability to perform education and childcare functions, alcoholism and drug addiction, and single-parent families.

The monthly per capita income in the family that entitles the pupil to apply for a school grant may not exceed the amount specified in Article 8 (1) (2) of the Welfare Act (ustawa o pomocy społecznej) of 12 March 2004. Currently, the amount is PLN 600 (EUR 130) per person and per month.

The monthly grant may not, however, be lower than 80% of the family allowance referred to in Article 6 (2) (2) of the Act on Family Benefits (ustawa o świadczeniach rodzinych), and it may not exceed 200% of this amount. Currently, the amount of the grant ranges from PLN 99.20 (EUR 21.6) to PLN 248 (EUR 53.9) per month.

Amount of the school grant 

In PLN

In EUR

Minimum

99.20

21.6

Maximum

248.0

53.9

A school grant is awarded for a specific period between 1 and 10 months in a given school year.

The grant can be offered in the form of fully or partially covered costs of participation in educational activities, including remedial classes, which extend beyond classes in the school timetable, and in activities organised outside school (for example, language, sports, dancing, recitation classes or special interest clubs); or in the form of in-kind support for education (for example, purchase of textbooks, school utilities, a rucksack, gear for physical education classes, Internet connection costs or school outings or excursions).

In the case of pupils / learners in post-primary schools or colleges, the grant can be awarded in the form of fully or partially covered costs of studying away from the place of residence.

The body awarding the grant may set the conditions when the grant is provided in cash. However, this is applicable only when it is not possible or justified to provide support in other forms.

School allowances

School allowances are available to pupils who are temporarily in a difficult situation for reasons beyond their control.

The allowance is provided either in cash to cover expenses related to education or as in-kind support for education. It can be granted once or several times in a school year, regardless of the school grant and the family income.

The allowance may not be higher than 5 family allowances as referred to in Article 6 (2) (2) of the Act on Family Benefits, i.e. the amount of PLN 620 (EUR 134.8).

Incentive-type benefits

Granting incentive-type benefits is a statutory task of school administering bodies. Such benefits are financed from LGUs’ own revenues in the case of public educational institutions, and from the relevant section of the State budget in the case of schools administered by the competent ministers. In the case of public schools administered by entities other than LGUs and non-public schools, grants for scholarships for learning or sporting achievements are provided to such entities by LGUs.

The Prime Minister's scholarships are funded from the State budget, and scholarships awarded by the ministers responsible for school education and for culture and national heritage are funded from the sections of the State budget managed by these ministers.

Scholarships for learning or sporting achievements

A scholarship for learning achievements can be awarded to a pupil who achieved a high average mark and at least a good mark for behaviour in the semester preceding the semester when the scholarship is awarded.

The required average mark is defined by a scholarships committee in consultation with the teaching council and the pupil self-government body in a given school.

A scholarship for sporting achievements can be awarded to pupils with sporting achievements at least at interschool level who received at least a good mark for behaviour in the semester preceding the semester when the scholarship is awarded.

Incentive-type grants are not awarded to pupils in grades I to III of the primary school, nor to pupils in grade IV of the primary school until they finish the first semester.

Scholarships for learning and sporting achievements are awarded by the school head, in consultation with the teaching council (composed of the head and all teachers of the school), as part of the funds allocated for this purpose within the school budget by the school administering body. The school head also sets the amount of the scholarship, after consultation with the scholarship committee and the teaching council and in agreement with the school administering body.

The amount of an incentive-type scholarship may not exceed 200% of the family allowance as defined in Article 6 (2) (2) of the Act on Family Benefits, which currently amounts to PLN 248 (EUR 53.9).

The scholarship for learning or sporting achievements is paid once in a term (semester).

Prime Minister’s scholarships

The Prime Minister's scholarships are available to pupils in schools providing full-time programmes which lead to the maturity certificate.

A scholarship may be awarded to a pupil who has been promoted to the next grade with 'distinction', achieving the highest average mark in a given school.

It may also be awarded to a pupil who is outstandingly gifted in a specific area, as confirmed by excellent marks in a specific area of knowledge, and who has at least good marks in other school subjects.

The scholarship is awarded by the Prime Minister to one pupil in a school for the period between September and June of a given school year.

The scholarship amounts to PLN 500 (EUR 108.7) per month and PLN 5,000 (EUR 1,087) per year.

Scholarships awarded by the minister responsible for school education

Scholarships are available to pupils with outstanding learning achievements in public and non-public schools for young people, public and non-public stage II sectoral vocational schools and post-secondary schools. In particular, they are awarded to:

  • the winner of an international-level knowledge / school subject competition or the winner or a finalist in a national-level school subject competition;

  • the winner of a research project contest organised by a research institution or scientific association;

  • a post-primary school pupil who has achieved excellent results while following an individualised study programme at school;

  • a secondary school pupil following courses at a higher education institution in accordance with the regulations on outstandingly gifted students taking higher education courses;

  • a pupil who has achieved high results in national or international sporting competitions.

The Minister’s scholarship is a one-off award.

Scholarships awarded by the minister responsible for culture and national heritage

Such scholarships are available to outstandingly gifted pupils of art schools which train for artistic professions (for example, upper secondary art schools, ballet schools, upper-level schools of music).

A scholarship can be awarded to a pupil who has received a very high average mark in art subjects and to a pupil who is the winner of an international or national art competition.

The scholarship is a one-off award.

Related legislation:

Private education

ECEC for children aged up to 3 years

Non-public entities which administer a crèche or kids’ club or hire day-care providers may receive a targeted grant from the budget of the commune (gmina) (the lowest-level local government unit) for each child attending.

The amount of the grant and allocation and accounting rules are laid down by the council of the commune in a relevant resolution.

Such an entity may be contracted by the head of a commune or mayor of a city / town (wójt, burmistrz or prezydent miasta) to provide childcare in a crèche, kids’ club or day-care provider setting. Settings providing care to children aged up to 3 years are selected in accordance with the Act on Public Benefit Activity and Voluntary Service (ustawa o działalności pożytku publicznego i wolontariacie).

The same local government bodies also select day-care providers through an open tender process, conducted in accordance with the procedure laid down in the above-mentioned Act. 

As explained earlier in the description of the ECEC funding system for children aged up to 3 years, non-public entities administering a crèche or kids’ club or employing a day-care provider may also apply for a targeted (specific-purpose) State-budget grant.

Administering a crèche or kids’ club is a regulated activity. Thus, such providers should be entered onto the Register of crèches and kids’ clubs, kept by the mayor of a city/town as the competent authority within a given jurisdiction.

The mayor of a city/town also keeps the Register of day-care providers. Entities hiring day-care providers are required to register them.  

School education system (nursery schools, and schools)

Public schools administered by entities other than local government units (LGUs) and non-public schools receive financial support from budgets of LGUs.

Limitations on the use of such grants have been gradually put in place since 2014. Pursuant to the Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks (ustawa o finansowaniu zadań oświatowych) currently in force, grants can be used only as co-funding for the school’s or institution’s teaching, educational and childcare tasks, including special education and prevention of social problems. They can cover only current expenses of the school or institution and the costs of purchasing fixed assets and intangible assets which comply with the requirements laid down by the Act. The Act sets limits, in particular, for salaries and property expenses.

LGUs may conduct audits to check whether funds provided to schools and institutions have been properly spent.

Non-public schools and educational institutions should be entered onto the register kept by the relevant LGU or a specialised supervisory entity identified by the minister responsible for culture and national heritage.

Non-public schools with public-school status may charge fees to parents. However, they also receive a grant from the budget of an LGU; the grant (per pupil) is equal to the amount that the LGU receives from the State budget as the school education part of the general subsidy. The statutes of a non-public school or institution should lay down the rules for funding its activities.

Nursery schools

Nursery schools, preschool education classes in primary schools and other preschool education settings which are administered by entities other than LGUs can have the status of public or non-public institutions.

Pursuant to the regulations adopted in 2015, whereby communes are required to provide a place in a preschool education setting to each child, it is now possible to do so in non-public institutions. Thus, the head of a commune or mayor of a town / city (wójt or burmistrz / prezydent miasta) publishes an open call for tenders in accordance with the regulations on public benefit activity and voluntary service. Such an open tendering process is mandatory for communes which should but are unable to provide preschool education places to all eligible children. In such cases, non-public institutions should fulfil additional requirements laid down in the legislation, which relate to, for example, free provision of education, fees charged and admission rules. Furthermore, the duration of free care services may not be shorter, and the fees charged may not be higher, than those fixed by the council of the commune for institutions administered by the commune.

The basic grant amount is equal to planned current expenditure for a commune to operate a preschool education institution in a given financial year, minus certain amounts (for example, fees paid by parents for stay and meals; an amount for pupils with a disability received as part of the school education part of the general subsidy; current expenditure for the operation of such institutions which is planned in the commune budget and partly covered by EU funds) divided by the number of pupils.

The amount of the grant for nursery schools and other preschool education settings is determined by the basic grant amount for nursery schools; the amount for preschool education classes within primary schools is determined by the basic grant for primary schools where a preschool education class is established.

In case the commune does not administer, within its jurisdiction, any nursery school where the planned current expenditure partly covered by EU funds does not exceed 50% of its planned current expenditure, the amount of the grant is equal to the basic grant amount for nursery schools in the nearest commune that administers a nursery school. The Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks specifies the characteristics of such a commune. This is a commune:

  • which is of the relevant type (rural commune; municipal-rural commune; municipal commune; district-status town with up to 150,000 inhabitants; or a district-status city with more than 150,000 inhabitants);

  • which administers at least one nursery school where the planned current expenditure partly covered by EU funds does not exceed 50% of its planned current expenditure;

  • where the per capita tax revenue index is as close as possible to the one in the commune that does not administer such a nursery school.

If there is no neighbouring commune which fulfils the conditions, the next ones to be examined are communes in the same district, then those in other districts of the same province and, finally, also in other provinces. The same rules are applied to identify the nearest commune administering a preschool education class in a primary school.

The amount of the grant depends on:

  • the type of an institution / setting (nursery school, preschool education class in a school, other preschool education settings);

  • the status of an institution / setting (public or non-public);

  • compliance with additional requirements (only in the case of non-public institutions / settings selected through an open tendering process);

  • the number of pupils.

The table below shows varying levels of the grant per pupil, based on the criteria listed above.


 

 

 

Minimum amount of the grant per pupil 

Public institutions administered by entities other than LGUs

Nursery school

100% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools

Preschool education class in a primary school

100% of the basic grant amount for primary schools with a preschool education class

Other preschool education settings

50% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools

Non-public institutions selected through an open tendering process and fulfilling additional conditions

Nursery school

100% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools

Preschool education class in a primary school

100% of the basic grant amount for primary schools with a preschool education class 

Other preschool education settings

50% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools

Other non-public institutions / settings

Nursery school

75% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools

Preschool education class in a primary school

75% of the basic grant amount for primary schools with a preschool education class 

Other preschool education settings

40% of the basic grant amount for nursery schools 

Pursuant to the Act on the Financing of School Education Tasks, a grant for a pupilwith a disability in all types of preschool education institutions, including both public and non-public, may not be lower than the amount for a pupil with a disability in the corresponding type of institution that a given commune receives as part of the school education part of the general subsidy. The same rules apply to institutions which conduct rehabilitation-and-education classes and early childhood development support classes.

Furthermore, it is guaranteed that the amount of the grant for public and non-public special nursery schools and special schools with preschool education classes is equal to the amount for a pupil with a disability in a nursery school or preschool education class as specified in the school education part of the general subsidy allocated to a commune.

Schools

Primary and post-primary schools administered by entities other than LGUs may have the status of public or non-public institutions. Some of them offer full-time or part-time compulsory education.

Such schools receive a grant from the budget of an LGU which is the registration body for them (that is, which keeps a register of such schools). The amount of the grant varies depending on the number of pupils and the amount allocated per pupil of the corresponding type of school within the school education part of the general subsidy for a given LGU.

In the case of public schools providing full-time or part-time compulsory education, the amount of the grant is multiplied by a so-called increasing index. The index increases the amount per pupil allocated to the LGU concerned within the school education part of the general subsidy, taking into account all expenses incurred by the LGU for schools of a given type (on top of the amount calculated within the school education part of the general subsidy). 

The increasing index is also applied to all public special schools which are administered by entities other than LGUs, regardless of whether they provide full-time or part-time compulsory education.

In the case of non-public schools where pupils do not participate in full-time or part-time compulsory education, a grant is provided only for pupils who have attended at least 50% of compulsory classes. This requirement has been in place since 2013.

Type of school

Full-time or part-time compulsory education provided

Definition of the pupil

Amount of the grant

Public schools administered by entities other than LGUs

YES

For each pupil

The amount for such a pupil as specified in the school education part of the general subsidy for an LGU, multiplied by the increasing index

NO

The amount for such a pupil as specified in the school education part of the general subsidy for an LGU

Non-public schools

YES

NO

For each pupil attending at least 50% of compulsory classes

Source: Author’s elaboration.

An additional grant, introduced in 2018, is available to public and non-public general secondary schools for adults, stage II sectoral vocational schools and post-secondary schools. Aside from the grants discussed above, such schools may receive a grant for outcomes / a performance grant (dotacja za efekt): a grant for each learner who has obtained a maturity certificate, a vocational qualification certificate or a vocational diploma respectively. Grants for learners in stage II sectoral vocational schools are provided separately for a maturity certificate or a vocational qualification certificate.

Post-primary schools which are administered by entities other than LGUs and provide vocational qualification courses receive a grant from the budget of the district:

  • for every learner who attends a course: an amount for such a learner allocated within the school education part of the general subsidy for a given district;

  • for every learner attending a course who has passed a vocational exam for a given qualification: an amount for such a learner who has passed the exam allocated within the school education part of the general subsidy for a given district.

Between 2012 and 2018, the two grants were provided only in case a learner attending a course passed an exam. Since 2019, the arrangement has varied depending on whether a post-primary school administered by an entity other than an LGU has public or non-public school status. For public schools, the two types of grants are not tied to each other; thus, a school can receive a grant for the learner attending a course regardless of whether he / she has passed an exam. Non-public schools receive both grants only in case the learner has passed an exam.

An additional grant is also available, on conditions laid down in the legislation, to schools with a boarding house and other educational institutions such as youth education centres.

Since 2014, non-public schools have also been eligible to apply to the LGU administering a given type of schools for a targeted grant to purchase textbooks, educational resources and exercise materials for compulsory general education classes.

Pupils in non-public schools are entitled to receive maintenance- and incentive-type financial support until they complete education, although not longer than until they reach the age of 24. Detailed rules for providing support are described in the previous section. Public schools administered by entities other than an LGU and non-public schools receive funding for scholarships for learning or sporting achievements as part of grants described in this chapter.

Related legislation: