26 November, 2018 - Minister McHugh announces €29m Minor Works Grant for Primary Schools
The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D., today announced that the Minor Works Grant of €29m in total will be paid to all primary schools throughout the country over the next number of days. This follows a commitment under Project Ireland 2040 that the Minor Works Grant will be paid on an annual basis to all primary schools.
All primary schools will receive a flat rate Minor Works Grant of €5,500 plus €18.50 per mainstream pupil and €74 per special needs pupil attending a special school or special class. The grant is worth €6,425 for a 50 pupil school and over €11,000 for a 300 pupil school.
While schools have discretion under the Minor Works Grant Scheme in relation to the nature of small scale works and improvements to be carried out to their school buildings, the Department is advising all school authorities to use the grant in the first instance to prioritise fire safety prevention works. The Appendix sets out a summary of the key outcomes from the Department led programme of fire safety assessments on 55 schools that was initiated in Q4 2017. This highlights the need for a strengthened focus on fire safety housekeeping, maintenance and, where necessary, remedial works.
The Department will be developing guidance for all primary and post-primary schools on the key issues identified from the fire safety assessment programme. This will focus on the importance of managing and prioritising fire safety – particularly in the context of funding provided under the Minor Works Grant to all primary schools. It is envisaged that this guidance will be provided to schools in Q1 2019 and the Department will be consulting with the school management bodies before finalising the guidance.
Minister McHugh said:
“I am pleased that there is now more certainty for schools in relation to the Minor Works Grant and that this will enable schools to have more effective maintenance programmes in place. A key priority is to ensure that any fire safety matters are addressed.”
Summary Outcome of Fire Safety Assessment Programme
A programme of fire safety assessments in 55 schools was initiated in Quarter 4 of 2017 and the following is a summary update of the 3 main categories of issues that have emerged:
- Housekeeping and maintenance issues were identified in all of the schools. These issues typically relate to inadequate fire safety manuals, incomplete or absence of records for servicing fire alarms and emergency lighting, fire doors being wedged open, incomplete or absence of evacuation drawings, storage underneath escape stairs and an excessive amount of paper posters/notices on corridor walls etc. School authorities have been advised to ensure that these issues are addressed as a matter of urgency.
- Small-scale remedial issues were identified in many schools and typically relate to the absence of appropriate maintenance and refurbishment of fire doors, inadequate or absence of fire stopping around fire doors and services etc.
- More extensive remedial issues were identified in 8 Design and Build schools built between 2009 and 2013. These issues typically relate to inadequate fire protection around emergency escape routes (e.g. glazing on stairwells not fire rated and openable) inadequate or absence of fire stopping in wall cavities, inadequate fire alarm or emergency lighting systems etc.
A process has been put in place to address the aforementioned remedial issues.
Notes to editor
Circular Letter 0062/2013 which is available on the Department’s website gives full details on the Grant scheme for Minor Works.
The number of primary schools receiving the minor works grant are listed by county below.