Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 25/11/2019. Tags: Teachers Education And Politics
New Climate Action focus for Summer Works Scheme
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D. has today (Monday 25 November 2019) announced a €30million package for 405 schools around the country to carry out specialist improvements.
The Minister also confirmed a new climate action focus for the Summer Works Scheme with schools asked to plan for electric vehicle charging points.
The Minister said: “The €30 million fund for the 2020 Summer Works Scheme that I am announcing for schools will make an enormous difference to the standard of facilities next year.
“Our focus is on three fronts – we have prioritised money to upgrade and improve life safety systems like fire alarms and detection and emergency lighting; we are funding new surfaces on play areas and car parks; and schools will be obliged to plan for electric vehicle charging.
“In total 405 primary and post-primary schools will benefit from the Summer Works Scheme – that’s more than a tenth of all the schools in the country in one go.”
The Summer Works Scheme 2020 includes 324 primary schools and 81 post-primary schools.
A climate action initiative has been included in the Summer Works Scheme 2020 to ensure schools future-proof for electric vehicles.
Any school which receives funding for car parking and play areas will be required to identify a point for electric vehicle charging. The funding will allow for specialist electric ducting under play and car parking areas in order to ensure resurfaced areas are not dug up in the future.
Minister McHugh said: “The climate action element of next year’s summer works is a sensible plan for the future. More and more electric charging points are coming on stream and it is symbolic that schools will be demonstrating how important initiatives like this are.
“The work will be carried out in schools mainly over the summer months, so the disruption to students, teachers and other staff will be kept to a minimum.
“We have also made sure that schools are getting the notification several weeks earlier than last year to try to give principals and boards of management a better lead-in time to plan and then get the work done.
“The €70 million investment for 2019 and 2020 is helping more than 700 schools to improve their facilities.”
Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton T.D. said: “Schools can be champions of climate action within their community. It’s great to see that schools will install electric ducting to facilitate the installation of electric vehicle charging when upgrading their play areas and car parks through the Government’s summer works scheme.”
Projects allocated funding under the 2020 Summer Works Scheme relate to applications submitted by schools in category 10 from the Summer Works Scheme 2016/17 and category 1 from Summer Works Summer 2020 onwards.
“Summer Works is a significant undertaking for schools and their hard work planning and preparing is a key component in its success,” Minister McHugh said.
“I am confident that school authorities will be able to achieve best value for money on prices for jobs and I’m urging school authorities to ensure that they get the maximum benefit for their schools.
“The Summer Works grants follow on from Minor Works grants of €29 million that I announced two weeks ago which works out at €6,425 for a 50-pupil school and more than €11,000 for a school with 300 pupils.”
Schools are now required by legislation to report their energy use annually online through the Sustainable Energy Association of Ireland.
As part of the Government’s Climate Action Plan, schools applying for Summer Works projects post 2020 will be required to register online with the SEAI, and commit to submit the appropriate returns, before any payments can issue in respect of the approved projects.
Under Project Ireland 2040, the education sector will receive approximately €12 billion from 2018 to 2027. This includes some €8.8 billion for the schools sector.
Minister McHugh said: “The €30 million Summer Works Scheme demonstrates that the Government is continuing to prioritise capital funding for school buildings which will enhance the learning and working environment for pupils and teachers and also responding to the need for enhanced climate action.”
All schools approved for the 2020 Summer Works Scheme are being notified by the Department with further details and instructions on how to proceed.