Written Answers. - Special Educational Needs.

Michael Ring

Question:

155 Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science if his Department will support a school (details supplied) in County Mayo with finances for its special needs students. [15149/02]

Enhanced capitation grants are paid by my Department in respect of children with special needs who attend special schools or special classes dedicated to children with particular special needs. On 14 June 2002 the school account of Glencastle national school was credited by electronic fund transfer with the second moiety of the capitation grant in respect of the current school year. The enhanced rate of capitation grant was paid in respect of seven pupils. The school received €6,090 in respect of the standard rate of capitation grant payable in respect of 58 pupils and a further amount of €3,779 in enhanced grants payable in respect of seven pupils with special needs. A letter detailing the breakdown of the amount of capitation grant paid to the school in respect of the current school year has since issued to the school.

The running costs of schools are not individually budgeted for by my Department. It would not be feasible to grant aid approximately 3,000 schools in this way. Schools' running costs are discharged by making funds available through my Department's capitation grant scheme.

These grants go towards the operating costs of national schools which include heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance, painting and teaching aids. The capitation grant has been increased substantially since the last Government took office in 1997. It has been increased from €57.14 – £45 – per pupil in 1997 to €105 per pupil in the current school year. This constitutes an increase of almost 84% over that period.

I regret that there are no additional capitation funds available to my Department from which moneys can be provided for grant assistance over and above that already paid.