EDUCATION Minister, John O’Dowd, today announced a boost of £10million for schools’ maintenance.
The additional funding brings the total allocation for maintenance to £47million for this financial year.
Speaking about the additional funding, Minister O’Dowd said: “I have regularly highlighted the need for continued investment in the schools estate to support work we are undertaking to raise educational standards. Education continues to face tough financial challenges and I, as Minister, must ensure that funding is used in the most effective manner. The allocation of an additional £10million to maintenance recognises the challenges that exist within the estate and is further evidence of my commitment to use the resources at my disposal to support teaching and learning in schools.
“While today’s announcement is good news for schools, there is a need for continuing investment and it is essential we put in place a sustained and substantial investment programme for the future.”
In addition to maintenance work the Department of Education also provides funding for work deemed as minor works, ie, capital projects under £500,000. In the period January to June 2013, the Department awarded contracts to the value of £4.4million to address issues ranging from minor repairs to more significant refurbishment projects and extensions. Since June last year, the Minister has also announced that 40 major capital building schemes can proceed which represents a potential investment of £353million.
In conclusion, the Minister highlighted the benefits for the local construction industry. He said: “The announcement of additional funding will be particularly welcome by the construction industry. Maintenance work and indeed work under the Minor Works Scheme is usually carried out by local small and medium-sized enterprises. This additional funding will help sustain local jobs and will provide a much needed boost to the local construction sector.”