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Summer Works Scheme 20/04/16

INTO calls on acting Minister to make immediate announcement

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Statement by Sheila Nunan
General Secretary
Irish National Teachers’ Organisation
On Summer Works Scheme

Still no details of Summer Works Scheme – INTO calls on acting Minister to make immediate announcement

The INTO today strongly criticised the failure of the acting Minister for Education and Skills Jan O Sullivan to announce details of a Summer Works Scheme for primary schools. The union said the continuing delay was leading to mounting pressure in schools in relation to school buildings.

Sheila Nunan, INTO general secretary, said schools needed to know if their applications for funding under the scheme are successful. “Indeed many are beginning to wonder if there is going to be a scheme at all this summer,” she said.

She said hundreds of schools needed this information so that they can make the necessary plans for building work to be done.

“For example, many schools are aware that heating systems are on their last legs or a leaking roof needs to be repaired but there is no indication from government what funding will be available to carry out this work over the summer,” said Ms Nunan.

€40m was allocated for building projects in 2016 in the budget. Schools submitted applications to the Department in November 2015.

Ms Nunan said schools now needed to know if their applications have been successful and that the money provided was actually going to be spent.

“It is vital that sanction for projects is given in time to allow for proper planning by schools. Arrangements need to be made now for tendering and the appointment of contractors,” she said. “This cannot be done successfully unless government gives an immediate green light to the scheme.”

The INTO is gravely concerned about the delay and calls on the acting Minister for Education and Skills to announce details of the scheme for 2016 immediately.

The purpose of the Summer Works Scheme is to devolve funding to school authorities to undertake small-scale works which can be carried out mainly during the summer months to avoid disrupting the operation of the schools.

“Schools are entitled to know that this is a priority area for the acting Minister,” said Ms Nunan.