Written Answers. - Caretaking Services.

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

227 Mr. O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Science if appointment of full-time caretakers will be made to St. Paul's National School and St. John's National School at Rathmullen, Drogheda, County Louth. [3926/03]

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 full-time secretaries and caretakers in primary schools, under which my Department meets the full cost of salary. This scheme is being phased out as posts become vacant and no new posts are being created. This scheme was superseded in the PESP agreement of 1992 by a more extensive grant scheme now referred to as the ancillary services grant.

The ancillary services grant provides additional funding for primary schools towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking services. These grants are paid as additions to the standard per-capita grants. The scheme, by its nature, is flexible and gives boards of management discretion as to the manner in which secretarial and caretaking services are provided. Both St. John's national school and St. Paul's national school receive funding under this scheme.

The level of funding provided to schools by my Department in respect of ancillary services will increase from €102 per pupil which was paid in 2002, to €127 per pupil for 2003, i.e. €63.50 per pupil per service. Based on current enrolment figures, St. Paul's national school will receive €29,718 for 2003. As St. John's national school already has the services of a full-time secretary under the 1978-79 scheme, they will receive a total of €16,192.50 in respect of caretaking services only. This grant, which is the maximum available to schools for the current year, is expected to issue shortly.