Written Answers. - School Services Staff.

Derek McDowell

Ceist:

494 Mr. McDowell asked the Minister for Education and Science his plans to make provision for pensions for caretakers employed under the departmental scheme providing caretaker assistance to schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27489/01]

My Department provides funding towards the cost of caretaking services in primary and secondary schools under two separate schemes. One scheme is the 1979 scheme for the employment of school caretakers in the larger primary schools, under which my Department meets the full cost of salary. The question of introducing a pension scheme for caretakers was explored fully in 1985, however, it was considered that the high age profile of caretakers at that time rendered the introduction of a pension scheme impractical. There are no plans at present to introduce such a pension scheme for caretakers employed in primary schools.

The 1979 scheme has been superseded under the PESP agreement of 1992 by a more extensive scheme that provides grants to primary and secondary schools towards the cost of caretaking services. The scheme, by its nature, is flexible and gives schools discretion as to the manner in which caretaking services are provided. Caretakers employed by schools are employees of the individual schools and my Department does not have any role regarding how they are employed. These individualised arrangements preclude a central superannuation scheme.

The funding arrangements for the VEC and C&C school sectors at second level include provision for caretaking services to schools. Pension scheme provisions apply in both sectors to caretakers.