Written Answers. - Second Level Schools.

Bernard J. Durkan


492 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Science the extent to which he has carried out a review of the funding of the various second level schools and colleges here; his views on the need to provide a structure within which equal and adequate funding is available to all such schools and the need to bring such funding into line with modern requirements; if he has received a communication from the various school authorities here regarding this issue; when he expects to be in a position to respond to such requests; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27486/01]

I am aware of requests by school authorities for increased funding referred to by the Deputy.

The Blackstock report on the funding of second level schools represents a comprehensive review of the funding arrangements of post primary schools. The recommendations made in the steering group's report for the future funding arrangements of second level schools are under review. At the core of the recommendations made for future funding arrangements are the principles of equity of treatment, transparency of funding structures and adequacy of funding levels.

I am conscious of the traditional anomalies that have evolved in the funding arrangements for the different school types at second level, and I am committed to bring greater equity and cohesion to this particular aspect of the funding of schools.

I have already shown my commitment in this regard by establishing the school services support fund, which is a significant initiative in the fund ing of our schools. While provision for support services, including secretarial and caretaking, is a particular focus of this fund, schools are being given discretion, in line with that available in relation toper capita grants, as to how this additional funding is best utilised in the interests of their pupils. Under the fund, a school with 500 pupils now receives additional annual funding of £20, 25.40, per pupil or £10,000, 12,697.38, with a minimum payment for smaller schools of £4,000, 5,078.96, per school.
I have recently announced further significant increases in the support grant to schools. With immediate effect, the annual grant will be increased from £20, 25.40, per pupil to £50, 63.49, per pupil, with a further increase to £70, 88.88, per pupil next September and to £78, 99.04, per pupil in January 2003. The minimum annual grant for smaller schools will also be increased from £4,000, 5,078.96, to £15,600, 19,807.91; while schools with 500 pupils or more will rise from £10,000, 12,697.38, to £39,000, 49,519.79, over this school year and the next.
My approach to date has clearly shown my commitment and determination to address the needs of schools. I am committed to improving further the funding position of second level schools in the light of available resources.