Wednesday, 2 May 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
133. Mr. D'Arcy asked the Minister for Education and Science if he is satisfied that schools have the necessary financial and human resources to comply with all of their legal and administrative obligations, especially the additional duties under the Education and Welfare Act, 2000 and the Education Act, 1998; if his Department monitors the compliance records of all schools in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12269/01]
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): Funding of schools at both primary and second level is structured on the basis of capitation grants with additional grants towards services such as caretaking and secretarial.
This Government has placed a high priority on increasing funding to schools. Recent developments at primary level include significant improvement in the level of capitation grants. I increased the standard rate of capitation grant for primary schools from £45 per pupil to £75.50 in  the current school year, and a rate of £80 will apply in the 2001-02 school year. At second level, I increased the per capita grant by £8 from September last and I will further increase the grant by £10 to £202 for the next school year. In addition, schools with disadvantaged status receive further capitation of £30 per pupil per year, bringing the overall per capita payment in respect of such pupils to £232. Schools are afforded considerable flexibility in the use of these resources to cater for the needs of their pupils. In my view this is, in general, a preferable approach to putting in place grants for specific initiatives.
At primary level, in addition to the funding improvements outlined above, substantial progress has been made in providing additional supports to schools. The measures introduced to date include: the introduction of the scheme of release time for teaching principals with paid substitution cover for the 2000-01 school year; the appointment of administrative principals to ordinary schools with an enrolment of 180 pupils and Gaelscoileanna with an enrolment of 158 pupils on 30 September 2000 in the 2001-02 school year; the appointment of administrative principals to ordinary schools where there are ten or more teachers including ex quota posts.
Arising from the PCW agreement on teachers' pay and conditions, middle management in second level schools has been improved through the creation of significant numbers of additional posts of responsibility. In addition, over the past two years, in excess of 1,200 new teaching posts have been created at second level.
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