Written answers

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Department of Education and Skills

School Funding

Photo of Martin BrowneMartin Browne (Tipperary, Sinn Fein)
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66. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if her attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied); and the measures being taken to ensure that schools are prepared for rising running costs this year. [46052/22]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department provides funding to all recognised schools in the Free Education Scheme by way of per capita grants. The two main grants are the Capitation grant to cater for day to day running costs including heating, lighting etc. and the Ancillary grant to cater for the cost of employing ancillary services staff. These grants may be regarded as a common grant from which the Board of Management can allocate according to its own priorities. I have committed to seeking funding for further increases in the capitation in future budgets.

My Department has also ensured that centrally negotiated rates are available to schools for electricity, gas and bulk heating fuels. These rates are available through existing frameworks sourced by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) which run until 2024. These rates were negotiated prior to the current inflation and will remain available to the schools on the current framework. OGP has run competitions specifically for Schools at a national level and the Schools Procurement Unit and the Department has communicated with schools and school management bodies informing them of the options available to them through these national arrangements. It is planned to run future competitions to ensure that bulk rates continue to be available from 2024 onwards. Information on how to avail of these arrangements is available via the Schools Procurement Unit website, www.spu.ie.

Furthermore, my Department is at the forefront of design with respect to sustainable energy in school buildings and this performance has been recognised at both National and International level with sustainable energy awards for excellence in Design and Specification and is advancing a number of programmes to further develop this.

The Energy in Education website portal and advice programme (Joint programme between SEAI and Dept. of Education) also assists schools reduce their energy consumption and empowers participating schools and pupils to learn the benefits of sustainability www.energyineducation.ie. Typically savings of between 5 to 10% are identified through low and no cost measures, while some schools participating have identified potential savings of up to 15 % or more.

I am very conscious of the cost of living pressures facing families and schools. In advance of this year's Budget I will engage with my Cabinet colleagues to continue to deliver on my priorities to support the students, staff, and families within the education sector and to address these pressures.

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