Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (81)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

76 Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of all-girl primary schools which will be affected by the reduction in learning support provision to four hours per mainstream teacher; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4227/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the revised arrangements, which will update schools' General Allocation Model (GAM) allocations, based on the number of class teaching posts in schools for the previous year, reflect existing arrangements whereby differing pupil teacher ratios are applied under the GAM in relation to boys, girls and mixed schools in order to account for differentials of prevalence of learning difficulty between boys and girls. The ratios which had previously applied are set out in my Departments Circular SP ED 02/05, which is available onwww.education.ie.

There are no plans to reduce the overall number of learning support/resource teachers provided to schools under the General Allocation Model (GAM). GAM allocations for primary schools will be updated from September 2012, through a redistribution of the existing GAM learning support resources, based on the number of classroom teaching posts in each school in the previous school year, which are themselves based on the preceding years enrolments.

The rationale for applying differing ratios for boys and girls schools is based on international literature on the incidence of disability as well as international and national surveys of literacy and numeracy which indicate that there is a greater incidence of disability/learning difficulty in boys than girls.

The NCSE Report on the Implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, of 2006, also examined a range of sources to establish prevalence rates, including national databases, local and international studies and expert estimates, which indicated significantly higher rates of Mild General Learning Difficulty and Specific Learning Disability prevailing in boys, in comparison to girls.

The revised arrangements will apply to all of the all girls primary schools from September 2012 and the actual allocation which will be made for each school will be based on the based on the number of classroom teaching posts in each school in the previous school year.