Dáil Éireann - Volume 547 - 31 January, 2002
Written Answers. - School Staffing.
Mr. S. Ryan Mr. S. Ryan
45. Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Science if, further to his decision to phase out community employment participants in schools, he will report on the ensuing problems for schools who find themselves short of ancillary staff; if he has appointed consultants to examine these problems; the terms of reference of the consultants; and when he expects them to report. [2757/02]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): My Department provides funding to primary and second level schools on the basis of per capita grants with additional grants towards ancillary services such as caretaking and secretarial. In line with a PPF commitment to mainstream certain essential services provided under community employment schemes, last year I secured the transfer of £46 million, €58,407,951, per annum to my Department on a phased basis as the FÁS school-based CE schemes came to an end. The availability of this funding has enabled me to make significant progress in relation to the provision of secretarial and caretaking services to schools by putting in place an equitable system of funding for ancillary services throughout the free education school system. My Department will receive a total of £32 million, €40,631,618, in this school year.
In the case of primary schools, I am increasing the grant for caretakers and secretaries from £40, €50.79, per pupil per annum to £100, €126.98, per pupil over this school year and the next. The  grant rate that applies from January 2002 is £80, €101.58, per pupil. At second level, the extra funding is being allocated to schools under the school services support fund that was introduced in 2000. The grant, increased from £20, €25.40, per pupil to £50, €63.49, per pupil in September 2001, will further increase to £70, €88.88, per pupil next September and to £78, €99.04, per pupil in January 2003.
In addition, voluntary secondary schools with secretarial support under the 1978 secretary scheme will also receive an additional services support grant of £15, €19.32, subject to a maximum additional grant of £5,250, €6,666.12, per school. Voluntary secondary schools not embraced by the 1978 secretary scheme will receive an additional services support fund grant of £35, €44.44, subject to a maximum additional grant of £12,250, €15,554.29, per school. My Department has issued circulars to all primary and second level schools outlining details of the new funding arrangements.
I have set aside £2 million, €2,539,476, to respond to the particular difficulties which may be experienced by some schools. No consultants have been appointed to date. The Deputy may be aware that I also agreed with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and FÁS that all school based CE participants with a legitimate expectation of up to three years' participation in a school based CE scheme will be facilitated to complete their full term. This adjustment to the phasing out of CE schemes in schools means that certain CE participants may be entitled to continue working on CE in schools up to and including 2004 depending on their individual circumstances and entitlements under CE.
Schools that used CE participants as classroom assistants to assist with the care of pupils with disabilities should note that my Department has a special needs assistant scheme in place for such purposes. School authorities may apply for the services of a special needs assistant to assist in catering for pupils with special care needs arising from a disability. Further details on the operation of the special needs assistant scheme are available from special education section, Department of Education and Science, Athlone, County Westmeath.
Dáil Éireann 547 Written Answers. School Staffing.