Dáil Éireann - Volume 495 - 22 October, 1998

Written Answers - Capitation Grants.

164. Mr. Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans, if any, he has to increase the level of capitation grant to primary schools in view of the concerns expressed by parents and teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20845/98]

Minister for Education and Science (Mr. Martin): The Deputy will be aware that An Action Programme for the Millennium contains a commitment to give primary education a clear priority in the allocation of resources. I can assure the Deputy that, in the context of the 1999 Estimates, I am currently examining a range of options, including the level of capitation rates to [1379] primary schools, with a view to identifying appropriate ways to fulfil this commitment.

The Government's commitment in this regard was clearly reflected in the 1998 Estimates, which provided for an overall increase of almost 12 per cent in expenditure on primary education. In this context, the 11 per cent increase in the standard rate of capitation grant represented an important step forward in the process of improving funding of the primary sector.

I assure the Deputy that I will continue to give priority to the issue of further increases in the capitation grant to primary schools.