Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ceisteanna (97)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

97. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore the capitation grant to €200 per pupil for primary schools; the timeline in relation to same; his further plans to increase the capitation grant to match the costs of running a primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21519/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The level of funding provided to schools and the drivers of costs at school level are kept under review by my Department.

Initiatives in order to assist with the reduction of costs at school level and management of finances are in place such as the services provided by the Schools Procurement Unit and the Financial Services Support Unit.

I also recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years.

Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education.

Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade. In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion. Through budget 2017 and Budget 2018, we are now investing €1 billion more in education.

The process is underway for restoring grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff. The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation.

The Deputy may wish to note that schools have the flexibility to use capitation funding provided for general running costs and ancillary funding provided for caretaking and secretarial services as a common grant which is outlined in Circular 40/2009.