Written answers

Thursday, 19 January 2023

Department of Education and Skills

School Facilities

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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258. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary schools awaiting approval for a school gym from her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2511/23]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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Investment and expenditure on PE Halls is an element of the overall expenditure and investment in the School Building Programme. The provision of GP rooms/PE Halls, at primary and post primary level respectively, and outdoor hard play areas form part of the accommodation brief for all new school buildings or where a major building or refurbishment project is being delivered for an existing school.

Almost 80% of the post primary schools that made 2020 Annual Schools Returns have indicated to the Department that they have a PE Hall. A further 10% have indicated that they have access to a nearby PE Hall and 5% more have projects in train that will deliver a new PE Hall. Practically all schools have outdoor play areas and many schools use adjacent local facilities, including community halls, public parks, playing fields and swimming pools.

The main focus of resources over the last decade and for the coming period is on provision of additional capacity to cater for increasing demographics particularly at post-primary level and for special education needs provision. The Deputy will appreciate that the immediate priority of my Department is providing new and replacement school places each year, to ensure that every child has a school place.

Under Project Ireland 2040 the education sector will receive a total of approximately €4.4 billion capital investment over the period 2021-2025. There will be a rolling 5 year funding envelope which will be updated annually for the period 2026 to 2030 within the Government’s overall NDP funding envelope of €136 billion in exchequer capital (€165 billion total capital including non-Exchequer) that will facilitate building a modern and sustainable school infrastructure.

This significant investment allows us to move forward with certainty on our ambitious plans and deliver high quality building projects, with a real focus on sustainability, for school communities across Ireland. The strengthened focus on refurbishment of existing school stock will have different strands and will include a PE build and modernisation programme which will enable students in post-primary schools to have access to appropriate facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of PE as a leaving-certificate subject. Enhanced and modernised PE facilities will also provide important amenities for local communities.

Details of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed on my Department's website at, www.gov.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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259. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) was refused funding application for a school gym; the procedure by which the school can lodge an appeal; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2512/23]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I can confirm to the deputy that capital funding was approved under the Additional Schools Accommodation (ASA) scheme in 2022 which included the replacement of prefabs and special education needs classrooms. The school also requested funding for PE hall in this application and was refused. The school authority has been notified of the decision. Funding for PE halls does not fall under the parameters of the ASA scheme.

Investment and expenditure on PE halls is an element of the overall expenditure and investment in the School Building Programme. The main focus of resources over the last decade and for the coming period is on provision of additional capacity to cater for increasing demographics particularly at post-primary level and for special education needs provision. The Deputy will appreciate that the immediate priority of my Department is providing new and replacement school places each year, to ensure that every child has a school place.

Under Project Ireland 2040 the education sector will receive a total of approximately €4.4 billion capital investment over the period 2021-2025. There will be a rolling 5 year funding envelope which will be updated annually for the period 2026 to 2030 within the Government’s overall NDP funding envelope of €136 billion in exchequer capital (€165 billion total capital including non-Exchequer) that will facilitate building a modern and sustainable school infrastructure.

This significant investment allows us to move forward with certainty on our ambitious plans and deliver high quality building projects, with a real focus on sustainability, for school communities across Ireland. The strengthened focus on refurbishment of existing school stock will have different strands and will include a PE build and modernisation programme which will enable students in post-primary schools to have access to appropriate facilities to support PE provision, particularly also in the context of the roll-out of PE as a leaving-certificate subject. Enhanced and modernised PE facilities will also provide important amenities for local communities.

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