Written answers

Thursday, 16 May 2024

Department of Education and Skills

School Funding

Photo of John McGuinnessJohn McGuinness (Carlow-Kilkenny, Fianna Fail)
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182. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she will review immediately the arrangements for payment of the ancillary services grants and the SSSF secretary grants, as communicated to schools on 26 April 2024, given that what is being proposed will cause serious financial problems for some schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [22278/24]

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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My Department is committed to providing funding to recognised primary and post-primary 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 such as heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance and general up-keep, and the Ancillary/SSSF grant to cater for the cost of employing ancillary services staff. Schools have the flexibility to use capitation funding provided for general running costs and ancillary funding provided for caretaking and secretarial services as a common grant from which the Board of Management can allocate according to its own priorities.

As the Deputy may be aware, following the acceptance by Fórsa of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) agreement in respect of salaries and various leave entitlements for grant-funded school secretaries, those secretaries who accepted the terms of this agreement were placed on a payroll operated by my Department from September 2023. Therefore, ancillary-related grant funding has been revised to reflect the fact that schools are no longer paying these salaries directly.

The arrangements for the 2023/24 school year are based on reducing grants by the value of the salary schools paid to grant-funded secretaries prior to their acceptance of the new terms and conditions. Schools provided my Department with these details and this information is now being used to reduce the ancillary-related grant funding.

Ancillary-related grant funding is not reduced for those schools that don’t employ a grant-funded secretary who transferred to a Department payroll operated by my Department.

Correspondence issued to all schools on 20th December 2023 providing details of these arrangements for the period September to December 2023. Further correspondence issued on 26th April 2024 setting out the position for the period January to August 2024.

Schools have been advised that work is ongoing to identify a method of standardising the reduction to the Ancillary and SSSF Grants for the longer term, where school secretaries are being paid via a payroll operated by my Department. Engagement will take place with school management bodies in order to discuss these arrangements to ensure that they are as reasonable and as fair as possible for all schools and further details of these arrangements will be provided to schools as soon as they become available.


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