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29 Jan 2022

Huge news for education in Offaly as €1.1 million investment announced

Huge news for education in Offaly as €1.1 million investment announced

Stock image (Pixabay)

Offaly schools are set to benefit from a cut of €45 million in funding for minor works at primary and special schools.

The funding was Minister for Education Norma Foley on Monday with €1.14m allocated to Offaly schools.

Once-off Covid-19 minor works funding of €17m is also announced for post-primary schools.

Given that each school setting is different, individual schools are best placed to decide how best to use this funding to address their particular needs.

Arrangements are now being made for the payment of these grants to schools.

Offaly-based Minister in the Department of Agriculture, Pippa Hackett, welcomed the news.

“This funding for minor works in schools is very welcome during this time of Covid. I’m delighted to see Offaly schools receiving €1.14m. Schools can decide for themselves how best to spend this money, given that they all have different needs. Keeping our schools open and our children safe is a vital part of our response to the Covid crisis," Senator Hackett said.

Minister Foley said: “This significant increase in funding for schools will enable them to address both their minor works requirements and also to address small-scale ventilation improvements at school level as a short-term mitigation measure, should they require to do so.

“Minor works funding is important in terms of supporting the operation of schools generally and particularly within a Covid-19 environment. Schools may also apply for emergency works grant assistance to address larger-scale issues on a permanent basis.

“This funding also provides an opportunity for schools to enhance their outdoor learning environments for use as the weather permits.”

The works that can be undertaken under the primary minor works scheme include maintenance and small-scale improvements to school buildings and grounds, improvement or replacement of mechanical and electrical services, the purchase of standard furniture and physical education equipment, the purchase of floor coverings and window blinds and the purchase of IT related equipment etc.

Separately, Independent Laois-Offaly TD Carol Nolan also welcomed more funding for Laois and Offaly, announced by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris.

The Laois-Offaly Education Training Board (ETB) will receive €321,410 under the Mitigating against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF).

“I am delighted for Laois-Offaly ETB and the news that it will receive an allocation of €321,410," Deputy Nolan said.

"I have been fighting to have the area of educational disadvantage tackled and appropriate measures put in place to reduce it for the last number of years and it remains a key political priority of mine.

"We all know that Covid has exposed the inequalities within schools in terms of accessing vital equipment or enabling greater levels of participation. Hopefully this grant will go some way toward addressing those issues within Laois and Offaly.

"As I understand it the funding will resource projects to help support online learning, connect communities and provide social support to the most disadvantaged.

"The Fund also has a strong focus on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers, including providing devices and software, and increasing their capacity to deliver online learning, and that is something I want to welcome, even if remains the case too many rural schools and areas still suffer with poor or relatively patchy broadband,” concluded Deputy Nolan.

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