Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Richard Bruton

Question:

944 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if his attention has been drawn to the strains on existing staffing levels in the Kildare VEC as a result of a large number of new projects and expansion in other areas; the discussions, if any, he has had with the VEC with a view to resolving these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1386/99]

I am aware of representations from County Kildare VEC concerning staffing levels allocated to the committee's scheme and I have met with the VEC in the matter. The allocation of clerical, administrative and maintenance staff in the vocational education sector is made on a scheme wide basis and it is a matter for each vocational education committee to deploy sanctioned staff in the best manner possible to meet the needs of the committee and its schools. Any case for an increase in staffing has to be approached in the context of Government policy on public service numbers and staffing norms in the VEC sector as a whole.

My Department carried out an examination of the staffing levels in County Kildare VEC in 1995. In addition, an independent consultant evaluated the grading structure of the VEC. Arising from these reports, the clerical staff complement for County Kildare VEC was increased from 15.8 to 17.8 posts and a new senior management grade was created in the committee. This allocation was arrived at on the basis that it compared favourably with other schemes of similar size.

The recommendation of the independent consultant was that the need for the appointment of an assistant principal officer in the VEC should be reviewed at a later date. My Department has agreed to have this review carried out and my officials will shortly be engaging with the committee and IMPACT, the union which represents the clerical and administrative staff in the VEC sector, concerning the detailed arrangements for this review. The committee is aware of this position.

Richard Bruton

Question:

945 Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will approve the application by Glenasmole national school, Bohernabreena Road, Firhouse, Dublin 24, for a new heating system and remedial and resource assistants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1387/99]

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

993 Mr. Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Science if he will provide a resource and remedial teacher for Glenasmole national school, Firhouse, Dublin 24, which has over 12 children who, if they were attending a larger school, would be priority for remedial assistance and particularly one of the children who has Spina Bifida, is a wheelchair user and has been diagnosed as having severe learning disorders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1751/99]

I am pleased to advise the Deputy and I recently announced a major initiative to tackle education disadvantage at all levels. As part of this initiative, I have arranged for a remedial teacher service to be made available to all primary schools with effect from September 1999. Mainstream schools with pupil teacher ration of below 10:1, and which currently have no service, may apply for a service where they can demonstrate the particular needs of their pupils.

With regard to a resource teacher as part of the major new initiative in the special education area, all children assessed as having special educational needs will be entitled to an automatic response to those needs. The level and nature of the response in each case will depend on the assessed needs of the child or the group of children involved. The response may take the form of full or part-time special support teaching and/or child care support depending on the number of children involved and the nature of their needs. My Department is considering all applications from schools seeking a support teaching service in the context of these new arrangements. Glenasmole national school should ensure that the school inspector has full information concerning the special educational needs of pupils with a disability.
An application for a new heating system at Glenasmole national school is currently under consideration in my Department.