Written Answers. - Secretarial and Caretaking Services.

Trevor Sargent

Question:

866 Mr. Sargent asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will raise the amount of grant payable to schools in line with the statutory annual increases in salary which have accrued to secretaries and caretakers employed by this grant, or pay £30 per pupil for all pupils in the school and not cap this at 500 in view of the situation in schools with enrolments of over 500 which have operated with a cap on the £15,000 additional capitation grants of £30 per pupil unchanged since 1 September 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28308/98]

Question:

939 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science when his Department will establish the positions of caretaker and clerical assistant as permanent public service posts with an appropriate incremental salary scale for national schools; the reason, if any, the level of grant aid for these positions has not increased since their establishment in 1992; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1369/99]

Richard Bruton

Question:

1014 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the figure for grant-aid in respect of caretaking and clerical services has not been increased since its introduction in 1992; if he will make arrangements that the positions of caretaker and clerical assistant be established on a proper basis with grant-aid linked to salary costs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2117/99]

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 standardper 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 theper 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.