Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Accommodation

Photo of Gerald NashGerald Nash (Louth, Labour)
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203. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if land reportedly donated by an organisation (details supplied) to a school has been formally transferred to the school; if planning permission has been sought for a playground for the school on that land; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13377/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I can confirm to the Deputy, that my department is not in receipt of an application for capital funding, under the Additional Schools' Accommodation (ASA) scheme from the school in question.

The purpose of the Additional Schools' Accommodation scheme is to ensure that essential mainstream and special education classroom accommodation is available to cater for pupils enrolled each year and where the need cannot be met by the school’s existing accommodation or at other schools in the area.

My Department does not provide funding for site extensions where the original site is not in state ownership. In this case it is a matter for the Board of Management or the Patron to purchase any site extension required. There are legal difficulties associated with dual ownership of different parts of a school site. In that regard, it is not possible for the Department to purchase part of a school site and leave the remainder in the ownership of the Patron. My department therefore has no function in relation to the transfer of land to the school in question.

Furthermore as my department has no record of receipt of an ASA from the school in question it is not possible to comment on the submission of planning applications in relation to the donated land as the department has not approved funding for the school under the ASA scheme. The issue of planning permission in this instance is a matter for the local authority. My Department has no function in this matter.

My department has a number of funding streams available to the school in relation to provision of play space. It is open to the school to utilise its Minor Works Grant or to apply under the Summer Works Scheme for improvement works to facilities.

The Minor Works Grant is the funding mechanism for primary schools to deal with small-scale improvement or maintenance works. It may be used to improve the physical infrastructure and appearance of schools without needing to deal directly with the Department.

The Summer Works Scheme (SWS), which is demand based, is designed to allow schools, on a devolved funding basis, to carry out necessary improvement works that will upgrade existing school facilities, which can be carried out during the summer months or at other times that avoid disrupting the operation of the school.


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