Question to the Minister for Education and Skills (Ms. Jan O’Sullivan, TD)
To ask the Minister for Education and Skills in view of the increasing enrollment in primary schools annually, the projections in terms of attendance and school buildings her Department has made for each of the next five years; the costings that are attached to these projections in terms of buildings, teachers and resources; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer
For WRITTEN ANSWER on 9, June, 2015.
My Department’s latest published projections of primary pupil enrolment indicate a pupil increase of the order of some 29,000 pupils in 2018/9 compared with current levels. These projections are published on the website. My Department is in the process of updating its estimate of the impact of demographics on expenditure on the Education and Skills Vote, to take account of most recent projections of pupil numbers over the years ahead. It is planned that this exercise will be completed shortly.
However, earlier indicative figures of the cost of providing for demographics were set out in an analytical paper compiled by the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service and published by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the context of Budget 2013. The link to this paper is at the following address: .
This paper calculated the impact of demographics in terms of teacher numbers in schools and of the cost of capitation grant payments. It estimated additional costs in this regard of some €207 million arising between 2016 and 2021. In addition to these costs, there would also be impacts on other areas such as special needs expenditure, school transport and student grants. Demographic pressures will also create pressures on school accommodation and consequent pressure for capital investment. Much, however, will depend in this regard on the location and distribution of the additional pupil numbers.
In November 2011 under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Framework a total over €2.2 billion was allocated to the Education sector of which over €2 billion was assigned to the schools sector (Primary and Post-Primary). Within the school sector allocation €1.5 billion is assigned to the delivery of large scale projects.
Details were announced in March 2012 of 275 major school building projects to commence over a five year period. These major projects include 106 new schools and 65 large scale extensions at primary level. In addition to large scale projects, permanent classrooms are provided under the devolved Additional Accommodation and Prefab Replacement Schemes where smaller sized projects are capable of addressing increased enrolment numbers.
Under the Capital Review 2016-2020, the Department presented its submission to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in July 2014 and awaits the determination of that Department. The enrolment projections at primary level in the submission indicate that numbers will continue to rise until reaching a peak in 2018/19.