Under a new initiative called the summer works scheme a total of €31 million is set aside in the 2004 school building programme for capital grants for small-scale improvement works to primary and post primary schools. This new initiative replaces all existing small-scale building project schemes and applications made under these schemes with the exception of the grant scheme for minor works, commonly called the devolved grant scheme, that applies to primary schools.
I announced details of the SWS in December 2003. An advertisement for the scheme was subsequently posted in all national print and principal or chief local-provincial print media in December. Full details of the scheme are published on my Department's website at www.education.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications was Friday, 30 January 2004. It was open to the authorities of Scoil Bhríde to apply for funding for the works in question under this scheme. Applications under the SWS are now being assessed and I will publish a list of schools to receive the allocated funding by the end of February.
Notwithstanding this scheme, I must point out that individual school authorities are responsible, in the first instance, for ensuring the safety and welfare of children and others in their care. In accordance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989, it is the responsibility of school management authorities to have a safety statement in place in their schools. Schools are obliged to identify possible hazards, assess the risks to health and safety and put appropriate safeguards in place. Primary schools are given an annual allocation of €3,809 plus €12.70 per pupil under the grant scheme for minor works which can be used entirely at the discretion of school management to address basic health and safety issues relating to the school infrastructure and its external environment.