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Dáil Question on school grants for minor works strucural works

To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the future plans for the summer works scheme and minor works grants; if these schemes are being phased out, the funding that will be available to schools to undertake necessary minor structural works, such as improving recreational facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Anthony Lawlor.

* For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 15th February, 2012.

Reference Number: 8544/12

As the Deputy is aware, the Government’s Medium Term Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework, which was published on 10th November last, sets out the demographic challenge facing the education system. Total enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by almost 70,000 between now and 2018 – over 45,000 at primary level and 25,000 at post primary – and will continue to grow up to at least 2024 at post-primary. In view of the very real need to ensure that every child has access to a school place, the delivery of new schools, together with extension projects, will be the main focus for capital investment in schools in the coming years.

The Deputy will be aware that a Minor Works Grant issued to primary schools last November for the school year 2011/2012 at a cost of €28m. In the context of the financial constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of essential school accommodation, it is not possible for me to advance with a summer works programme this year. It is not envisaged that a Minor Works Grant to primary schools will be issued in 2012 for the school year 2012/2013.

 My Department administers an Emergency Works Scheme solely for unforeseen emergencies or to provide funding to facilitate inclusion and access for special needs pupils. An emergency is deemed to be a situation which poses an immediate risk to health, life, property or the environment which is sudden, unforeseen and requires immediate action and in the case of a school if not corrected would prevent the school or part thereof from opening. Details of the Scheme are available on the Department’s website www.education.ie.

ENDS