Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (86, 87, 88)

Dara Calleary

Question:

86 Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills when he envisages that the building unit of his Department will have made a decision in relation to a building project appeal for a primary school (details supplied) in County Mayo; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32568/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

My Department recently offered grant aid to the school in question to facilitate the construction of Learning support/resource accommodation under the Prefab Replacement Initiative.

The school subsequently requested the replacement of further accommodation under the Initiative. However, based on the need to prioritise the available funding to replace rented mainstream classrooms and SET rooms, it was not possible to accede to the school's request. The school has been advised accordingly.

Michael Creed

Question:

87 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the way the devolved grant for school building projects operates; if there is an upper limit on the costs of schemes approved under this approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32587/12]

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Applications for devolved funding for additional accommodation can be submitted as needs arise and are considered on a case by case basis. In the context of the number of applications received and the funding available, priority is given to the provision of mainstream classrooms and accommodation for special education.

Other factors taken into account include the demographic growth in the area, the enrolment trends at the school making the application, the capacity of neighbouring schools and so forth.

Given the fact that school authorities are fully responsible for managing the delivery of their devolved building projects, large scale projects cannot be considered for devolved funding.

All works to be allocated funding under my Department's Devolved Schemes must be offered to the market in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.

School management authorities must comply with all the requirements of Technical Guidance Documents TGD 007 and TGD 008 (Design Team Procedures for Small Works and Engaging Professional Consultants for Small Works respectively) which are available on my Department's website. These guidelines provide opportunities for all contractors to tender. Failure to comply with these guidelines may expose the school management authorities to challenge and subsequent financial penalties from a consultant or contractor who feels he/she was not afforded an opportunity to tender. Any such challenge could also result in the project being substantially delayed.

These guidelines provide a balanced approach by allowing access for smaller firms while also ensuring that appropriate consultants are engaged for small works. The full terms and conditions attaching to a devolved grant are issued to the school in the approval letter.

Michael Creed

Question:

88 Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm receipt of detailed costings for a proposed school extension (details supplied) in County Cork; if a devolved grant will be considered in this case and in view of the increasing enrolment, access issues for a pupil with a disability and minor works at the school already approved; if he will expedite a decision on this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32589/12]

View answer

I can confirm that my Department has received an application with costings for a proposed extension at the school to which the Deputy refers. The application is currently being assessed and a decision will be conveyed to the school authority as soon as this process has been completed.