Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 6 Nov 2001

Vol. 543 No. 2

Written Answers. - School Services Staff.

Seán Power


853 Mr. Power asked the Minister for Education and Science the allowances he intends to make for schools operating under the pre-1989 scheme by which his Department pays an annual incremental based salary to the secretary and caretaker and where the £40 per child for caretaking and secretarial staff never applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26765/01]

My Department provides funding towards ancillary services in schools in the form of assistance to schools towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking services. Responsibility for the operation of community employment – CE – schemes in schools lies with FÁS. In line with a PPF commitment to mainstream certain essential services provided under CE, I recently secured the transfer of £46 million – 58,407,951 – per annum to my Department on a phased basis between now and 2003, as the FÁS school-based CE schemes come to an end. The availability of this funding enabled me to make significant progress in relation to the provision of secretarial and caretaking services to schools by putting in place an equitable system of funding for ancillary services throughout the free education school system. My Department will receive a total of £32 million – 40,631,618 – in this school year.

Proposals for the distribution of the moneys received this year at primary and post primary levels have now been finalised. In the case of primary schools, I am increasing the grant for caretakers and secretaries from £40 – 50.79 per pupil per annum to £100 – 101.58 per pupil over this school year and the next. With immediate effect, the grant will be increased from £40 – 50.79 – to £60 – 76.18 – per pupil. This will be further increased to £80 – 101.58 – per pupil in January. As a result, the minimum grant to be paid to schools with 60 pupils or less will increase from £2,400 – 3,047.37 – to £4,800 – 6,094.74 – while schools with 500 pupils or more will increase from £20,000 – 25,394.76 – to £40,000 – 50,789.52 – per annum.

Schools which already have the services of a full-time secretary or caretaker employed under my Department's 1978-79 scheme are not eligible for additional funding towards ancillary services as outlined above as the total cost of these posts is met by my Department. However, schools that share the services of a secretary or caretaker under the above scheme are being written to by my Department with proposals to allocate the services of the shared secretary or caretaker to one school and to assist the other school by means of the ancillary services grant.

At second level, the extra funding will be allocated to schools under the schools services support fund that I introduced last year. With immediate effect, the grant will be increased from £20 – 25.40 – per pupil to £50 – 63.49 – per pupil per annum, with a further increase to £70 – 88.88 – per pupil next September. These increases are in addition to the £55 – 69.84 – per pupil at present provided to schools for secretaries and caretakers where these are not provided under separate schemes. This element of £55 – 69.84 – is subject to a ceiling of £19,250 – 24,442.46 – per school.

The minimum annual grant under the services support fund for schools with 200 pupils or fewer will increase from £4,000 – 5,078.96 – to £14,000 – 17,776.33 – per year; while schools with 500 pupils or more will rise from £10,000 – 12,697.38 – to £35,000 – 44,440.83 – each year. In the case of second level schools already receiving £55 – 69.84 – per pupil for secretaries and caretakers they will, under this new scheme, also receive £70 – 88.88 – per pupil bringing their combined total for a 500 pupil school to £54,250 – 68,883.30 – per year.
My Department is now arranging for circulars to issue to all primary and second level schools outlining details of the new funding arrangements. I have also announced that I am immediately appointing consultants to examine and advise on transitional arrangements that may affect some schools during the process of the withdrawal of CE schemes. I am setting aside £2 million – 2,539,476 – to respond to the consultants' recommendations.
I recently agreed with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and FÁS that all school based CE participants with a legitimate expectation of up to three years participation in a school based CE scheme will be facilitated to complete their full term. This adjustment to the phasing out of CE schemes in schools means that certain CE participants may be entitled to continue working on CE in schools up to and including 2004 depending on their individual circumstances and entitlements under CE. This adjustment should also ensure that the withdrawal of CE schemes takes place on a more gradual basis and therefore reduce the immediate impact on schools.