26. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore the capitation grant to primary schools to €200 per pupil; his views on whether choosing not to do so will result in schools continuing to have to fundraise and to seek donations from parents and other sources; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 14274/18 asked on 29 Mar 2018)
Minister for Education and Skills (Deputy Richard Bruton): I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years. The first cuts to capitaion were announced in October 2010 by the then Minister for Finance. Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education.
Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade. In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion.
The process is underway for restoring grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff. The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools to implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation.
The level of fundraising activities is a matter for each Board of Management.