Thursday, 8 November 2012

Questions (139)

Michael McGrath

Question:

139. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the safeguards in place to prevent a situation in which a person in receipt of the home tuition grant fails to pay the home tutor for services properly supplied under the scheme; and if he has any plans to revisit policy in the area. [49121/12]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Home Tuition scheme provides funding to parents to provide education at home for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme was extended in recent years to facilitate tuition for children awaiting a suitable educational placement. Parents engage tutors directly and the grant is paid to the parent either on a monthly basis in arrears or where possible in advance to assist parents cover the cost of engaging a tutor. This affords a degree of flexibility and choice for parents in selecting the most suitable tutor for the purposes of home tuition for their children. These tutors are self employed and provide tuition under a contract for service to the parent.

Where the Department receives information which alleges that the recipient of the Home Tuition grant aid did not use the grant for the purpose intended, a procedure is initiated to establish the factual position and where necessary to recover the full grant aid issued. This procedure involves a series of written contacts with the recipient. In exceptional cases, where the recipient fails or refuses to cooperate with the Department, the Chief State Solicitor's Office is requested to recover the grant aid.

I do not propose to change the existing procedures in respect of the recovery of grant aid.