Westmeath primary schools receive boost with funding announcement

A total of 73 primary schools in Westmeath are set to receive a Minor Works Grant in two weeks to help them purchase equipment and furniture.

Labour’s Willie Penrose confirmed on Thursday that the popular grant will once again issue to each school on November 20. Deputy Penrose said: “I am very pleased to be able to confirm that funding for the Minor Works Grant will be issued to schools shortly on November 20.

“The grant enables Boards of Management and school principals to improve their existing school facilities and to help schools purchase furniture, and PE and IT-related equipment. This ultimately benefits the educational experience of local pupils.”

Each primary school will receive a grant of €5,500 as well as €18.50 per pupil. Schools also get €74 for every pupil with special needs enrolled. The grant is worth more than €11,000 for a 300 pupil primary school, or almost €13,000 in the case of a special school with 100 pupils.

“Some €28m is being made available to facilitate this year’s scheme, and I am pleased that local primary schools in Longford and Westmeath get their fair share of this vital funding stream,” Deputy Penrose said.

The news was also welcomed by Longford-Westmeath Fine Gael TD, Gabrielle McFadden. Deputy McFadden said: “I welcome Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan’s confirmation today of €28.5m in funding for the payment of a Minor Works grant to primary schools for the current school year, and €80m over 2016 and 2017 for a multi-annual Summer Works Scheme for schools.

“The €80m in funding is being made available for Summer Works Scheme for schools. The Summer Works Scheme funding will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works such as gas, electrical and mechanical works, roof and window upgrades, structural improvements; works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings.

“The Government is continuing to prioritise the upgrading of school facilities for the benefit of schools and local communities. I hope interested schools will take the opportunity to apply for the Summer Works Scheme grants without delay.”

The online application system for this funding opened on Thursday, November 5, and full details of the scheme are available on the Department of Education’s website at www.education.ie  

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