Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Questions (419, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425)

Dan Neville

Question:

533 Mr. Neville asked the Minister for Education and Science when work will commence on an extension to Pallaskenry national school, Pallaskenry in County Limerick. [2054/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the extension to Pallaskenry national school, Pallaskenry in County Limerick is listed in section 1 of the 2004 school building programme, which is published on my Department's website —www.education.ie. Projects listed in section 1 will proceed to tender and construction in 2004. The indicative timescale to tender for the project in question is the first quarter of 2004.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

534 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science if it is Government policy to discontinue the provision of PE halls and general purpose rooms in primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2070/04]

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Olwyn Enright

Question:

535 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of primary schools which were sanctioned funding in the 2003 and 2004 school building programmes for the provision of PE halls; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2071/04]

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Olwyn Enright

Question:

536 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the number of schools which were sanctioned funding in the 2003 and 2004 school building programmes for the provision of general purpose rooms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2072/04]

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I propose to take Questions Nos. 534, 535 and 536 together.

My Department's planning guidelines for new schools include, where appropriate, for PE halls and general purpose rooms and these guidelines have not changed. Many of the large-scale projects that are proceeding at primary level as part of the 2004 school building programme include provision for general purpose rooms. The outline project brief on all these projects is set out on my Department's website atwww.education.ie and includes references, where appropriate, to general purpose rooms.

I am particularly pleased that as 2004 is the European Year of Education through Sport, EYES, a number of PE halls have been included as part of this year's challenging programme of capital works. Some of these PE halls are approved on the basis that they are part of a joint programme to develop community sports facilities in drugs task force areas. Others are being approved on the basis that local agreements and management structures will be put in place to allow maximum community use outside school hours.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

537 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans his Department has for investment at a location in County Cork (details supplied). [2073/04]

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I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the plan for investment at the location referred to in County Cork is listed in section 1 of the 2004 school building programme which is published on my Department's website —www.education.ie. Projects listed in section 1 are expected to proceed to tender and construction in 2004. The indicative timescale to tender for the project in question is the second quarter of 2004.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

538 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Education and Science when his policy that no school will jump the queue on the school building list changed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2078/04]

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Seymour Crawford

Question:

539 Mr. Crawford asked the Minister for Education and Science the criteria now used to jump the queue on the school building list; and the way in which the following ten schools (details supplied) moved to construction in 2004 before Ballybay Community College; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2079/04]

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I propose to take Questions Nos. 538 and 539 together.

When publishing the 2004 school building programme, I outlined changes in format to make the presentation more user friendly and outlined that as 2004 is the European Year of Education through Sport, EYES, a number of PE halls have been included as part of the programme of capital works. This information and details of modifications to the banding in respect of rationalisation projects at post-primary level is available on my Department's website —http:/www.education.ie.

As outlined in the appendices to the school building programme, the initial assignment of a project to a particular band does not preclude its subsequent re-assignment to a different band as circumstances change and this was the case in a number of projects, which were included in this year's school building programme. As the Deputy will be aware, band 1 status is accorded to projects which provide new schools to cater for substantial increase in enrolments in rapidly developing areas.

I outlined in the 2003 school building programme that projects are selected on the basis of objective criteria and operated in an open and transparent manner. I assure the Deputy that this process has continued in the 2004 school building programme.

Question No. 540 answered with QuestionNo. 436.