Written Answers. - Learning Disabilities.

Enda Kenny

Question:

1097 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science if he has compiled a database of children in primary schools with learning disabilities; if not, if such compilation is under way; the results to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20568/00]

My Department is currently in the process of planning to extend the range of data gathered on all pupils with special needs as part of the development of a comprehensive database on individual primary school pupils. The new database will provide critical information to support the implementation of policies in the special needs area targeting specific and appropriate supports to those children most in need. It will also provide data for research and policy development purposes.

The development of a database on all primary school pupils is a very significant undertaking involving the collection and processing of information on 450,000 pupils from more than 3,300 primary schools. It will take at least three years to put the full database in place.

The project is currently in the planning stages and it is intended to implement a first phase in a pilot group of schools during the current school year.