Dáil Éireann - Volume 535 - 02 May, 2001
Written Answers - Second Level Education.
Mrs. Barnes Mrs. Barnes
66. Mrs. Barnes asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has quantified the financial savings which will accrue to his Department in view of the expected falling enrolment at second level schools; the way in which he proposes to prioritise spending at second level in view of these savings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12284/01]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): While there is a falling enrolment at second level it is not possible to quantify the fin ancial savings involved because in recent years my Department has provided significant increases in existing funding and has also introduced new funding arrangements in some areas.
For example, I am pleased to report that the quality of the second level infrastructure has been significantly improved over the past three years through a programme of sustained capital investment. As much as £112 million was expended on capital projects in 2000. For the current year I have secured from Government an unprecedented £125 million for investment in second level infrastructure.
In relation to school funding, schools are benefiting from further increases in the standard per capita grant. The grant was increased to £184 from £177 in 1999. It was further increased by £8 from September last to £192 and will be significantly increased by £10 for the next school year bringing the standard per capita grant over £200 for the first time. For a school with 500 pupils this amounts to an extra £12,500 per annum and a total capitation grant of £101,000 towards general expenses. An additional per capita grant of £30 per pupil is paid to disadvantaged schools bringing the total grant in the case of such a school with 500 pupils to £116,000.
In addition, I have introduced the schools services support fund. This is a new initiative under which 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 £7 million to second level schools each year.
Schools have also benefited under the IT 2000 initiative. By the end of 2000 £41 million will have been allocated to second level schools under the initiative.
In relation to teaching allocations, subject specialisation, retirement patterns and limited redeployment capacity effectively negate the impact of falling enrolments.
Since 1997 over 1,200 additional teaching posts have been allocated at second level. As a result of this increase in resources: All second level schools have an entitlement to an ex quota allocation in respect of remedial education; all designated disadvantaged schools have been invited to participate in the home-school-community liaison scheme; the minimum allocation in respect of guidance has been raised; additional teaching resources have been allocated to schools offering the leaving certificate applied and/or the junior certificate schools programme; teachers who would otherwise have been liable for redeployment have been retained in their schools; and the pupil-teacher ratio for appointment purposes has been reduced from 19:1 to 18:1.
My approach to date has clearly shown my commitment and determination to address the needs of schools. I am committed to improving further the funding position of second level schools in the light of available resources.
Dáil Éireann 535 Written Answers Second Level Education.