I propose to take Questions Nos. 866, 939 and 1014 together.
Arising from the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, PESP, a scheme was introduced in 1992 whereby my Department provides additional capitation grants for primary schools towards the cost of caretaking and clerical service.
Under the PESP scheme, schools receive grants of £30 per pupil, £15 per pupil in respect of each service, to a maximum of £15,000 per annum, which are paid as additions to the standard per capita grant. This scheme does not provide for the linking of the additional capitation grants to any particular pay scale. The scheme, by its nature, is flexible and gives boards of management full discretion as to the level and extent of the services to which the grants are to be applied.
Since its introduction in 1992, the scheme has been expanded in line with undertakings given in the PESP. The priority has been to extend the scheme in the first instance to schools which have no caretaking or clerical provision already rather than increase the per capita grant rate of £30 per pupil. In this regard, the scheme has been extended to include more schools by reducing the qualifying enrolment threshold to its current figure of 195 pupils, with an ultimate target of providing grant-aid to all primary schools with 100 pupils or more.
I remain committed to improvements in the provision of additional grant assistance to schools for these services. The position of schools that are currently in receipt of the maximum grant available under the scheme will be examined in the context of any improvements which may be implemented in the future.