Dáil Éireann - Volume 523 - 11 October, 2000
Written Answers. - Secretarial and Caretaking Services.
Mr. Ring Mr. Ring
298. Mr. Ring asked the Minister for Education and Science the standing of secretaries in secondary schools with regard to incremental salary and pension rights in view of the fact that most of them are funded by departmental grants; if he will introduce an overall package for these employees to ensure that they are placed on a full incremental salary package with pension rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21688/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): My Department provides funding towards the cost of secretarial services in secondary schools under two separate schemes. Under the scheme introduced in 1978 for the employment of school secretaries in the larger schools,  my Department meets the full cost of salary. A pension provision, introduced in 1985, applies to secretaries under this scheme.
This scheme has been superseded in the PESP agreement of 1992 by a more extensive grant scheme under which all schools, other than those in the 1978 scheme, with 200 or more pupils are eligible for secretarial assistance.
This scheme provides a grant to schools, which is not related to any particular pay scale. The grants are based on school enrolments and are paid as additions to the standard per capita grant. The level and extent of the service provided is a matter for local school management who, through the discretion afforded by the scheme, apply diverse arrangements for clerical services as resources permit. As the secretaries concerned are employees of individual schools, my Department does not have any role in determining the pay and conditions under which they are engaged. These are matters to be agreed between the staff concerned and his/her employer. These individualised arrangements preclude the introduction of a centralised superannuation scheme.
I would draw the attention of the Deputy to my recent announcement of the introduction of a school services support fund at second level from September of this year. My approach in establishing this fund is to address deficiencies in the existing funding structures. Schools will now receive additional annual funding of £20 per pupil with a minimum payment of £4,000 per school. This fund will channel an additional £4 million to secondary schools each year. While provision for support services, including secretarial and caretaking, is a particular focus of this fund, schools are being given discretion in line with that available in relation to per capita grants as to how this additional funding is best utilised in the interests of their pupils.
Dáil Éireann 523 Written Answers. Secretarial and Caretaking Services.