My Department provides funding towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking services in primary schools under two separate schemes. One scheme is the 1978-79 scheme for the employment of school secretaries and caretakers in primary schools under which my Department meets the full cost of salary. While these posts are fully funded by my Department, the secretaries and caretakers involved are employees of the individual school authorities. This scheme is being phased out as posts become vacant and no new posts are being created. It has been superseded by a more extensive grant scheme.
As the Deputy is probably aware, the money that has been transferred to this Department from FÁS has been used, in the main, to put in place a scheme of ancillary services grants for all primary schools. Funding to primary schools for secretarial and caretaking services has increased from the €50.79 per pupil that applied in the 2000-01 school year to the €102 per pupil that recently issued to all eligible schools. In this regard, Scoil Plas Mhuire boys national school and Scoil Mhuire Iosof have been issued with grants of €9,792 and €10,914 respectively. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the rate of €102 per pupil will be further increased in 2003 to €127 per pupil.
I am sure that the Deputy will agree that these increases in the level of the ancillary services grant will be of benefit to the vast majority of primary schools. The transfer of the money to this Department from FÁS also ensures that this money will now be available to the primary school sector on an ongoing basis.