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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 23 Oct 2001

Vol. 542 No. 5

Written Answers. - Community Employment Schemes.

Bernard Allen


453 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for Education and Science if a person (details supplied) in County Cork will be retained as a caretaker-general operative at the Farranree convent by his Department; and if not, if he will go back on unemployment assistance. [25002/01]

My Department provides funding to secondary schools on the basis of per capita grants with additional grants towards ancillary services such as caretaking and secretarial. Responsibility for the operation of community employment schemes in schools lies with FÁS. In line with a PPF commitment to mainstream certain services provided under CE, I recently secured the transfer of £46 million, 58,407,951, per annum to my Department on a phased basis between now and 2003, as the FÁS school-based CE schemes come to an end. The availability of this funding has enabled me to make significant progress in relation to the provision of secretarial and caretaking services to schools by putting in place an equitable system of funding for ancillary services throughout the free education school system. My Department will receive a total of £32 million, 40,631,618, in this school year.

Proposals for the distribution of the moneys received this year at primary and post-primary levels have now been finalised. In the case of secondary schools, the extra funding will be allocated to schools under the schools services support fund, which I introduced last year. With immediate effect, schools will receive an increase in the annual support grant from £20, 25.40, per pupil to £50, 63.49, per pupil, with a further increase to £70, 88.88, per pupil next September and to £78, 99.04, per pupil in January 2003. While provision for support services, including secretarial and caretaking, is a particular focus of this fund, schools have discretion, in line with that available in relation to per capita grants, as to how this additional funding is best utilised in the interests of their pupils.

The minimum annual grant under the services support fund for smaller schools will increase from £4,000, 5,078.96, to £15,600, 19,807.91, per year; while schools with 500 pupils or more will rise from £10,000, 12,697.38, to £39,000, 49,519.79, over this school year and the next. In the case of schools receiving grants of £55, 69.84, per pupil for secretaries and caretakers, up to a maximum of £19,250, 24,442.46, per school, the annual grant of £78, 99.04, per pupil under the services support fund will bring the combined total for a 500 pupil school to £58,250 (73,962.24). My Department is now arranging for circulars to issue to all primary and second level schools outlining details of the new funding arrangements.
I have also announced that I am immediately appointing consultants to examine and advise on transitional arrangements that may affect some schools during the process of the withdrawal of CE schemes. I am setting aside £2 million, 2,539,476, to respond to the recommendations of the consultants.
The Deputy will also be aware that I recently agreed with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and FÁS that all school based CE participants with a legitimate expectation of up to three years participation in a school based CE scheme will be facilitated to complete their full term. This adjustment to the phasing out of CE schemes in schools means that certain CE participants may be entitled to continue working on CE in schools up to and including 2004 depending on their individual circumstances and entitlements under CE. This adjustment should also ensure that the withdrawal of CE schemes takes place on a more gradual basis and therefore reduce the immediate impact on schools.