Tuesday, 14 December 1999
Dáil Éireann Debate
405. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of primary schools which have full-time school caretakers with salaries fully funded by his Department and the Department of Finance. [27093/99]
406. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of primary schools which have full-time school secretaries with salaries fully funded by his Department and the Department of Finance. [27094/99]
The original scheme for the provision of caretaking and secretarial services, introduced in 1978-79, provides grants in respect of the remuneration of school caretakers and secretaries employed by a single school or a number of schools on a shared basis. These grants provide full salary costs, including employer's PRSI, to the primary schools.
407. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Science the annual allocation from his Department for secretarial and caretaker services for a typical one, two, three, four, five, six, seven and eight teacher school assuming in each case the number of pupils is at the minimum retention number for that number of teachers. [27095/99]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): My Department provides funding towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking services in primary schools under two separate schemes. One scheme is the 1978-79 scheme for the employment of school secretaries and caretakers under which my Department meets the full cost of salary and employer's PRSI. The allocation for 1999 in respect of these schemes is £7.1 million.
 Arising from the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, a second scheme was introduced in 1992 whereby my Department provides additional capitation grants for primary schools towards the cost of secretarial and caretaking services. Under the PESP scheme, schools receive grants of £30 per pupil, based on their enrolments, which are paid as additions to the standard per capita grant. The allocation for 1999 in respect of this scheme is £5.6 million.
Since its introduction in 1992, the scheme has been expanded in line with undertakings given in the PESP. The scheme has been extended to include more schools by reducing the qualifying enrolment threshold to its current figure of 195 pupils, with an ultimate target of providing additional capitation grants to all primary schools with 100 pupils or more.
In recognition of the need to improve the funding of secretaries and caretakers I have recently announced that an additional £2.7 million has been made available to extend support to another 650 schools with a total enrolment of 90,000 children in the coming year. The Deputy will also be aware that I have secured an additional £9 million in the recent budget which will enable me to extend and improve the supports available to all primary schools. Details of the implementation of this will be worked out in the near future following consultations and will, when taken together with the earlier move, make a major contribution to assisting schools with regard to caretaking and secretarial services.
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