I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department administers a number of grants which together aim to improve and maintain school buildings and which can be used to address the issues raised. My Department's Emergency Works Grant is one such source of funding and its purpose is solely for unforeseen emergencies or to provide funding to facilitate inclusion and access for special needs pupils. Primary and post-primary schools seeking emergency works funding must refer to the Emergency Works Circular 0018/2011 and apply under this scheme by completing the Emergency Works Application Form, both of which are available on the Department’s website.
My Department’s Capital Programme provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. School authorities who wish to apply under the Additional Schools Accommodation Scheme can do so by completing the application form which is available on the website.
I am also pleased to inform the Deputy that, on approval of a special class in a school, my Department provides lump sum grant aid (€6,500 per class) towards the purchase of educational aids and equipment for special needs pupils enrolled in that class. My Department also provides a once-off lump sum grant aid (€7,000 per school) towards the purchase of educational equipment for schools with approval for a multi-sensory room. General classroom furniture and an ICT grant of €5,000 per classroom is also grant aided by my Department. This funding is provided on a devolved basis and it is a matter for the school authority to decide on the educational items to be purchased.
Grant aid is also made available to schools under my Department’s Loose Furniture & Equipment Scheme to fund the purchase of special items of furniture for special needs pupils. This scheme applies to all children who are diagnosed as having special needs. Items funded include classroom seating, desks and changing/toileting items for both primary and post primary schools.