I am glad to be able to reply to this question. We have set out the Department's capital investment programme for 2016 to 2021, which details various school projects that are being progressed through the architectural planning process.
We are building more schools and providing more additional school places than ever before. This reflects the priority which the Government is putting on education. We have doubled the number of school places being provided from 8,900 in 2010 to 18,000 in 2017. We have also increased the number of school completions from 25 in 2010 to 50 in 2016, with an expected 46 schools this year.
In 2017, more than 80% of the capital allocation in respect of the school sector will be expended on the delivery of large scale projects and the additional accommodation scheme. It is expected that this expenditure level will be maintained in 2018. Since 2011, 170 new schools have been built, with 120 major projects. They represent more than 100,000 school places.
In the case of the school projects announced from within the multi-annual programme for 2015, 64 school projects have either been completed, are on site or are in advanced architectural planning. The remaining six school projects announced for 2015 have not advanced as the Department expected due to difficulties with acquiring sites and issues arising in the planning process. The Department is in ongoing liaison directly with each of these schools with regard to the ongoing progression of their projects into the architectural and planning process.
These issues are, in the vast majority of cases, completely outside the Department’s control. The Department seeks to progress all school building projects to completion as soon as possible and works towards this objective in all cases.
Following the capital review, additional capital funding of €332 million will be available to the schools sector, primarily from 2019 onwards, boosting investment in our primary and post-primary schools infrastructure.