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Education

Primary schools to get a lick of paint with €28 million funding

The Minor Works Grant will be distributed depending on a school’s size.

PRIMARY SCHOOLS ACROSS the country will be breathing slightly easier after the announcement of €28 million in additional funding.

The Minor Works Grant will go on improving the physical infrastructure of schools – with a focus placed on the cost of upgrading buildings and the purchase of new equipment.

Rates payable for the new fund will equal out at €5,500 per school – with an additional €18.50 per mainstream pupil and €74 per special-needs pupil.

This means that the the size of the grant will be proportional to the size of the individual primary schools.

Speaking about the announcement today, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan, said:

The Minor Works Grant is an important funding injection for primary schools and I am pleased to be able to provide the funding this year. I know the funding is put to very effective use by schools.

Reaction

In reaction to the new funds today, the Irish Primary Principals Network (IPPN), an organisation of around 6,000 principals and deputy principals, said that “never in our experience has a grant been so welcome to schools”.

Principals will have a fund to carry out some basic repairs and maintenance to their schools… IPPN welcomes this grant and hopefully it marks the beginning of returning to the levels of funding in 2000.

The Catholic Primary School Management Association (CPSMA), which represents over 2,900 schools schools around the country, also welcomed the news today, with General Secretary Fr Tom Deenihan, saying:

From an operational perspective, today’s news will come as a relief to boards of management of primary schools who must meet the demands of ongoing maintenance of their school buildings.

Improvements 

A complaint held by both organisations was that difficulties remain with the regularity and timing of grant payments.

It was felt that the first installment of the capitation grant, which will be paid in January, and varies depending on the number of pupils in a school – is received too late for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Financial difficulties experienced by the schools were attributed to this, as they were serving a large portion of the academic year without the correct funding in place.

The IPPN made the point that “certainty about grant aid is as important as the grant itself”.

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