Tuesday, 23 October 2007
Dáil Eireann Debate
501. Deputy Joe Costello asked the Minister for Education and Science if she will make a provision for the payment of interpreters for parents who are deaf to assist them when meeting their children’s school teachers at parent teacher meetings; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25281/07]
Minister for Education and Science (Deputy Mary Hanafin): Schools’ running costs are met by my Department’s scheme of capitation grants which affords schools considerable flexibility in the use of these resources to cater for the needs of their pupils. This is in my view a preferable approach to putting in place grants for specific cost items such as interpreters. These grants are intended to contribute towards the general operating costs of schools including, where necessary, the use of interpreters when dealing with parents.
The primary school capitation grant has been increased substantially in recent years. Since 1997 the standard rate of capitation grant has been increased from €57.14 per pupil to €163.58 from 1st January, 2007. This represents an increase of over 186% in the standard rate of capitation grant since 1997.
Furthermore enhanced rates of capitation funding are paid in respect of children with special educational needs who attend special schools or special classes attached to mainstream schools. The current rates range from €418 to €805 per pupil.
There have been significant improvements in recent years in the level of funding for voluntary secondary schools. With effect from January 2007, the standard per capita grant was increased by €18 per pupil and now amounts to €316 per pupil. In addition, voluntary secondary schools have benefited by the increase of €30 per pupil in 2007 in the support services grant bringing that grant to €189 per pupil.
The cumulative increase of €48 per pupil in a voluntary secondary school brings the aggregate grant to over €500 per pupil. These grants are in addition to the per capita funding of up to €40,000 per school that is also provided by my Department to secondary schools towards secretarial and caretaking services. For example in the case of a secondary school with 500 pupils, this brings annual grants towards general expenses and support service to over €290,000. This represents an increase of 83% since 2000.
Budget allocations for schools in the VEC and C&C sectors are increased on a pro rata basis with increases in the per capita grant. All schools are eligible for recurrent per capita grants towards special classes and curricular support grants.
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