To answer the Deputy, though schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of Clerical Officers and Caretakers in primary and secondary schools, where staff employed on these schemes are paid directly by the Department, these schemes have been largely phased out and have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes.
Under these schemes, the majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools in the Free Education Scheme now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services. Within the schemes, it is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the capitation grant funding to employ a secretary, such staff are employees of individual schools. My Department has no plans to develop an alternative scheme for schools to employ secretaries separate to the current system of capitation grant assistance.
My Department has recently made significant efforts to improve the pay of school secretaries who are employed using capitation grant assistance. In 2015 my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries on negotiations and agreed to enter an independent arbitration process on the issue. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for school secretaries comprehended by the terms of the arbitration process and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 for such staff be phased in over the period 2016 to 2019. Following the arbitration process, grant funding used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff is being improved on a phased basis between 2016 and 2019 in order to enable schools to implement the arbitration outcome.