Capitation funding is intended to contribute towards the general operating costs, light, heating, etc., of primary schools, including special schools. The presence of special needs children in integrated settings in ordinary schools will not materially affect these general operating costs. The special capitation rates applicable to children attending special schools and special classes recognise the presence of smaller numbers of pupils per class and the need for a compensatory increase in funding per pupil to enable the schools to meet their general operating costs.
Children with special needs attending ordinary schools may require specialised materials and equipment to assist them in the integrated setting. A separate fund exists to meet such material and equipment needs. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the fund in question is being increased by £400,000 in 1999 and 2000 to cater for the needs of the children in question. I will keep this area under review.