Written Answers. - Remedial Teachers.

Seamus Brennan

Question:

436 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Education the reason a primary school (details supplied) in County Dublin, with 386 pupils, has been denied a full-time remedial teacher when the required number of pupils for such a post is 350; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16695/96]

Remedial teacher posts are allocated on the basis of priority of need and subject to resource availability. There is no automatic entitlement to such posts on reaching a particular enrolment number.

I am not in a position at present to allocate additional remedial teachers to primary schools.

Since my appointment as Minister for Education, I have allocated an additional 241 remedial teachers to the primary sector. A total of 1,188 remedial teachers are now in place and the percentage of pupils who have access to a remedial service has increased from 77 per cent to 87 per cent.

I consider that the substantial improvements which I have already achieved in this area provide practical confirmation of my commitment to the needs of the children in question.

However, as Minister for Education, I have to consider how best to deploy available resources across a wider range of special needs. I have to determine priorities and try to allocate resources to best effect.

In the current year, I have adopted a particular focus on children who suffer from educational disadvantage and have sought to target resources into this area in an effort to break the cycle of disadvantage. As part of this approach, I recently launched a major new initiative aimed at bringing special targeted assistance to children in selected urban and rural areas who suffer serious educational disadvantage.
I am satisfied that since my appointment as Minister for Education I have achieved substantial advances across the entire spectrum of special needs, including the remedial area. It is my intention to continue this process.
The school referred to by the Deputy currently has the services of a remedial teacher and a resource teacher, both on a shared basis. When I am next in a position to extend the remediation service, the needs of the school in question will receive every consideration.