Wednesday, 10 May 2000
Dáil Eireann Debate
610. Mr. Ardagh asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of primary schools with full-time secretaries, employed directly by his Department; the number of teachers in these schools; and the current salary of a full-time secretary. [13133/00]
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): My Department operates a scheme, introduced in 1978, for the employment of school secretaries under which it meets the full cost of salary and employer's PRSI. While the salary is funded by my Department, it is the board of management of each individual school which is the actual employing authority. This scheme was superseded in the PESP agreement of 1992 by a more extensive grant scheme.
On 1 April 2000 there were still 216 secretaries employed under this earlier scheme. Of these 216 secretaries, 74 are employed on a sharing basis between two or more schools. Accordingly, there are 142 primary schools which have the services of a full-time secretary. The posts were allocated to these schools on the basis of a teaching staff of 18 or more in respect of a full time post or shared between schools with a minimum of 23 teachers.
The pay scales of the secretaries employed under this scheme are linked to comparable positions in local authorities and are set out in the table below. The rates listed are effective from 1 April, 2000.
|Grade III||£||Grade IV||£|
|Under 19||10,024||At 18 or over||11,645|
|At 19||10,571||At 19||12,432|
|At 20||11,116||At 20||13,338|
|At 21 and over||11,664||At 21||14,251|
|12,757||At 23 or over||16,340|
|16,041||1st long-service increment||21,077|
|16,586||2nd long-service increment||21,771|
As I mentioned at the outset since 1992, my Department has provided assistance to schools in respect of secretarial services in the form of additional per capita grants. The rate of grant is currently £20 per pupil. With effect from January of  this year, all primary schools with 100 or more pupils have become eligible for a grant towards secretarial services under this scheme. I am also pleased to inform the Deputy that with effect from September of this year, I will be extending the scheme to all primary schools. In addition, I will be setting a minimum grant of £2,400 which will be payable to all schools with 60 pupils or less.
The improvements outlined above mean that  with effect from September 2000 all primary schools will be receiving an annual grant to assist them with the provision of secretarial and caretaking services. The Government's commitment in this regard can also be measured by the fact that the funding allocated for this purpose, which was approximately £5.6 million in 1999, has increased this year to approximately £12.2 million and will further increase in 2001 to approximately £16.8 million.
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