Tuesday, 19 October 2004

Questions (415)

Brian O'Shea


556 Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Education and Science if a school (details supplied) in County Waterford will be included in the 1:80 ratio allocation of special education teachers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [25459/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Science)

Under my Department's weighted system of allocation, the appropriate level of special needs teaching support is determined by the schools' enrolment figures and based on the following criteria: in the most disadvantaged schools, as per the urban dimension of Giving Children an Even Break, a teacher of pupils with special educational needs will be allocated for every 80 pupils to cater for the subset of pupils with higher-incidence special needs; in all boys schools, the ratio will be one teacher for every 140 pupils; in mixed schools, or all girls schools with an enrolment of greater than 30% boys, one for every 150 pupils; and in all girls schools, including schools with mixed junior classes but with 30% or less boys overall, one for every 200 pupils.

The school in question does not qualify for a ratio of one teacher for every 80 pupils under the criteria outlined. This school is categorised as an all-girls school and, as such, would attract a pupil teacher ratio of one teacher to 200 pupils.

With regard to the issue of disadvantaged status for schools, my Department is currently finalising a review of educational disadvantage schemes with a view to building on what has been achieved to date, adopting a more systematic, targeted and integrated approach and strengthening the capacity of the system to meet the educational needs of disadvantaged children and young people.