We have made a little bit of progress but it is not at the level I would have liked. The budget is not reflective of where I would like to be as Minister for Education and Skills, but it is reflective of where we are at a given point in time. Since we started here today, I do not know where we are in the conversation that is ongoing across the water, but hopefully we will get into a better place.
Despite budget 2020 being prepared in the context of a possible no-deal Brexit and the Government's necessity to plan for the economic impact of such a possibility, since May 2016 we have provided for an additional 3,000 SNAs and over 7,300 new teaching posts, with a further 1,000 SNA positions and 581 teaching posts for the 2020-21 school year as a result of budget 2020. We have cut the staffing schedule at primary level twice, which brought the position to a general average of 26 pupils to every teacher, the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level. We have to go further with that. The reduction of the pupil-teacher ratio is indicative of where I want to go and that has to be brought across the spectrum of primary school education. We have introduced a more favourable staffing schedule in small schools from September 2020. This budget 2020 measure for improved teacher staffing levels for schools with four teachers or less will see a more favourable pupil-teacher ratio in small schools. This improved schedule will apply in two, three and four teacher schools and will ensure one less pupil is required to retain or recruit a teacher. We have provided 1,300 new middle management positions at primary level and 1,300 new middle management positions at post-primary level. We have increased significantly the number of release days allowed to teaching principals, with a further additional release day to all schools in September 2020. We have increased capitation by 5% in budget 2019 and by a further 2.5% in budget 2020. We have increased the ancillary grant in primary schools by €22 per pupil.
I have taken steps in budget 2020 to build on the steps taken in recent budgets to meet the goals set out in the action plan for education. In the current school year, the numbers employed in our schools have reached their highest ever level at almost 71,000. Teacher numbers at primary level have increased by almost 3,500 when comparing the 2015-16 school year with the current school year, and this has led to a steady improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio. Substantial extra resources for primary education have been gained in the past three budgets and it is through the annual budgetary process each year and future budgets that further progress will be made.