Thursday, 19 September 2019

Questions (91)

Michael McGrath


91. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to review the policy that even large schools are only allowed one Department-funded caretaker; if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties this presents for certain schools in relation to extracurricular activities and providing cover for holidays and illness; if exceptions can be made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38022/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department provides funding for Secretary, Caretaker and Cleaner posts in the Community, Comprehensive (C&C) and Education and Training Board (ETB) Sectors.

A recruitment moratorium was introduced in the Public Service in 2009. This applied to Secretary, Caretaker and Cleaner posts in both Sectors.

Alleviation measures were put in place which permitted schools to fill Clerical Officer and Caretaker vacancies so as to maintain staffing levels at a maximum of 1 Clerical Officer and 1 Caretaker per school. 

I acknowledge the need to improve these arrangements, particularly for the larger schools  but I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures and prioritise where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year.

However in acknowledging the administrative burden on larger schools, I have relaxed the moratorium for those schools with enrolments of 700 and more to allow them employ an additional Clerical Officer up to a maximum of 2 with effect from 1st April this year.

Schools in the Community, Comprehensive and ETB Sectors are permitted discretion to use the School Services Support Fund (SSSF) in accordance with their own needs and priorities.  However, the provision of the secretarial and maintenance services is a particular focus of this fund which is a significant resource for schools in regard to employing additional administrative and maintenance staff.