Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Department of Education and Skills
230. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools in which the need for refurbishment works has been reported or identified by his Department; the number for which refurbishment works have taken place or are planned by county to date in 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54017/18]
I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department provides a number of mechanisms through which improvements are carried out in schools. Through the 6 year Capital Programme, the investment plan is about looking to the future and ensuring that our school infrastructure is well prepared to accommodate our growing school population. The programme also addresses the requirements of many schools which are in need of upgrading and refurbishment, although they may not be experiencing significant demographic pressure.
The projects under the capital programme will provide 19,000 new primary schools places and 43,000 new post-primary places. While the Programme relates to major projects capital funding for smaller projects, such as the addition of a classroom etc., is dealt with on an ongoing basis through the Additional School Accommodation (ASA) scheme.
Details of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie, and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may be viewed on the website.
In addition, the Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is designed to allow schools, on a devolved funding basis, to carry out necessary improvement and refurbishment works that will upgrade existing school facilities. Under 2016-2017 almost €117 million has been approved to date under the Summer Works Scheme, in respect of over 940 school projects in categories 1 - 9. Details of the successful school applicants are published on my Department's website www.education.ie.
In regard to the remaining applications under Category 10, which relate to external works such as upgrade and resurfacing of yards and car parking, these applications require more detailed analysis. It is intended to undertake this analysis in 2019 with a view to enabling approved applications proceed in 2020.
Finally, for primary schools, the Minor Works grant allows schools to undertake improvement works in full or in part, as the grant allows, without prior application to my Department.
The recent launch of Project Ireland 2040 included an announcement of a major package of investment in education for the next decade with the school building budget increasing by 70%. This investment will provide for the continued increase in demographics while also allowing for a greater focus on refurbishment and upgrading of existing school stock.
Furthermore, my Department is committed to putting in place a grant scheme similar to the Minor Works Grant in place at post-primary level over the lifetime of Project Ireland 2040.