I propose to take Questions Nos. 157 to 159, inclusive, together.
The information requested by the Deputy is not readily available. The demand for additional accommodation in schools has risen significantly over the last number of years mainly due to the rapid expansion in teacher numbers particularly in the area of special needs, the growth in the school-going population in rapidly developing areas and the demands to cater for diversity through the recognition of new Gaelscoileanna and Educate Together schools.
The provision of rented accommodation provides an immediate solution to a deficit of school accommodation, and is often the only available option where extra accommodation is needed at short notice.
However, the current focus within my Department is to empower schools to resolve their accommodation needs, wherever possible by way of permanent accommodation. In order to reduce the amount of temporary accommodation at primary level a new devolved initiative was launched in 2003. The purpose of this initiative is to allow schools to undertake a permanent solution to their classroom accommodation needs and to achieve the best value for money. Since the introduction of the devolved initiative over 200 schools have been allocated funding under this scheme.