Minister for Education Norma Foley
Longford / Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Joe Flaherty has endorsed the announcement of over €630,000 in state funding today for Longford schools under the Government's Minor Works Scheme programme.
The Longford based TD said the monies, announced via Education Minister Norma Foley's department would go a long way towards addressing many of the issues facing primary and secondary schools countywide.
“I am in regular contact with the Minister for Education, Norma Foley, and she is acutely aware of the challenges facing many of our schools and this allocation will certainly help address some of their most pressing needs," he said.
Each of the nine local secondary schools included in the programme will get an allocation of €10,000 plus and an additional €55 per pupil and with 4,404 pupils in the school network the allocation totals €312,000.
For the forty primary schools there is a payment of €5,500 per school and then €18.50 for each of the 5,337 pupils and it totals €319,000.
In addition to these payments there is also provision for €220 for each pupil in a social education class.
“There is a strong statement of support for the schools network with €25m nationally for post primary schools and €30m for national schools," added Mr Flaherty.
"The payment of the Minor Works Grant is important for any school and this is particularly true of this year, due to the unprecedented Covid-19 situation. The payment of these grants at this stage gives schools a good lead-in period for planning and undertaking works in 2021.”
The minor works grant funding provides good flexibility at local level to assist schools to manage in the Covid environment and to put more sustainable arrangements in place.
For example, schools may use this funding to enhance ventilation, purchase furniture or adapt toilet areas. The payment of the grants at this stage gives schools a good lead-in period to plan and undertake works that support the operation of the school in the current school year and assist in catering for capacity and other requirements going into the 2021/22 school year.
Welcoming the Minor Works Grant funding, Senator Micheál Carrigy said it will be a fantastic help to the many principals and schools that have really worked so hard in ensuring our children went back to school in September without disruption.
Minister for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy T.D. said, ”I am pleased that there is now more certainty for schools in relation to the Minor Works Grant. The €55m payments involve an additional €25m funding for Covid-19 related Minor Works at post-primary level, and brings forward from 2021 the standard €30m minor works grant at primary level. This will enable schools to manage and operate in the current pandemic environment.
“The Department of Education offers a number of options on how to put the money to good use from maximising capacity of existing school buildings to cater for physical distancing, enhancing ventilation to purchasing furniture or adapting toilet areas. The benefit of this grant is that schools have the flexibility and discretion on how to use the grants for small scale works on buildings and facilities."
He concluded. “I know full well how important the Minor Grant for schools is and how important it is for principals to have the time to plan and assess their school’s needs. The payment of these grants in early December will enable schools to use this time to plan for works in 2021.”