€79 million in Technology and Minor Works funding on the way

Senator Robbie Gallagher says that €79 million in funding to support digital learning in schools and minor building works will be issued shortly to all recognised primary and post-primary schools.

A further €50 million meanwhile will be allocated for Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and €29 million minor works funding for primary and special schools.

ICT funding is being provided to schools to help them continue to use digital technologies in their teaching, learning and assessment, while the minor works funding can be used by these schools for maintenance and small-scale improvements to school buildings and grounds.

The €50 million ICT grant is the second tranche of ICT funding under the Digital Strategy for Schools to 2027. Schools have already received €50m in ICT grant funding for the 2021 to 2022 school year.

“Technology can open up a world of opportunities. It is important that schools can properly equip our young people with the knowledge, skills and understanding to harness the benefits of such technologies. The Digital Strategy ICT grant will consist of a €2,000 basic grant for primary schools plus an additional payment of €39 per mainstream pupil, €43 per pupil in DEIS schools and €47 per pupil with special needs attending a special school or attending a special class attached to a mainstream primary school. For example, a 100 pupil-primary school will receive €5,973 and a 500 pupil- primary school will receive €21,865.

Post-primary schools will be paid a €2,000 basic grant plus €47 per mainstream student and €52 per student in DEIS schools. A 500 student- post-primary school would receive €25,840 and a 1,000 student-post-primary school would receive €49,680,” said Senator Gallagher..

This ICT grant builds on the €210m already allocated under the previous Digital Strategy for Schools 2015-2020, and the €50m issued under Ireland’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan to enable schools to support learners at risk of education disadvantage through the digital divide.

The circular outlining the criteria applying to the Digital Strategy ICT Infrastructure Grant Scheme will be published shortly and arrangements are now being made for the payment of €29 million in Minor Works grants to primary schools and special schools.

“Every school is different and individual schools are best placed to decide how best to use this funding to address their own maintenance needs. In this respect the minor works grant funding provides good flexibility to address issues locally. Maintenance of school buildings is important in promoting health and safety and in protecting the significant levels of public funding being invested in new and upgraded school infrastructure.”

The department’s Planning and Building Unit is currently finalising updated guidance for schools in relation to good practice arrangements for maintenance of school buildings to be published later in Q2 2024,” he concluded.