Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (247)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

247. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered an application from a school (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9854/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school referred to by the Deputy has submitted an application for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme to replace windows at the school.

The school authority has been requested to provide clarification in relation to their application and as soon as this clarification is received their application will receive further consideration. The school authority will be informed of the decision as quickly as possible.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (248)

Seán Fleming

Question:

248. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list the membership of the student grants appeals board; their qualifications and appropriateness for the position; the criteria used to appoint them; how often they meet; the cost of this board; the persons that provide the administrative support and back-up to the board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9876/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I established the Student Grants Appeals Board (Appeals Board) on 8 September 2011 in accordance with Section 25 of the Student Support Act 2011. The Appeals Board is independent in the performance of its functions. It comprises of a Chairperson and six ordinary members, all appointed in their individual capacities based on their knowledge and expertise.

The membership of the Appeals Board is as follows:-

Ms. Maureen Waldron, Chairperson, former Director in the Department of Social Protection; Mr. Pádraic McNamara (vice-Chair), former Chief Executive Officer of the State Examinations Commission; Dr. Marie Clarke, Lecturer, School of Education at UCD; Ms. Rebecca Murphy, former Student Union Welfare Officer, University College Cork; Ms. Eithne Frost, Consultant in the Voluntary Sector; Ms. Brenna Clarke, retired Professor of English at St. Patrick's College of Education; Professor Kevin Ryan, former Registrar of the University of Limerick.

Prior to an applicant making an appeal to the Appeals Board, an initial appeal in writing to the relevant awarding authority is provided for under the Student Support Act 2011. This provides for a review of the decision by an appeals officer of the grant awarding authority, independently of the original assessment process. If, after this initial appeal, the grant applicant still remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board. The Appeals Board is fully independent in the performance of its functions. The inaugural sitting of the Appeals Board took place on 7th October 2011. Since that date the Appeals Board has sat on 20 occasions over a 16 month period to consider appeals. Appeals are received on an on-going basis throughout an academic year. Since its establishment, the Appeals Board sittings have taken place at intervals varying from 2 to 4 weeks: the frequency of sittings is determined by the volume of appeals submitted and the requirement that the Appeals Board make a determination on the appeal within the 60 day timeframe specified in the Student Support Act 2011.

Since its establishment in 2011, the following amounts have issued to the Appeals Board members:-

- Allowances - €15,450.00;

- Travel and Subsistence - €6,591.61. Total paid for 2011 and 2012 (as at 20 Feb 13) €22,041.61*

*Claims in respect of attendance at the December 2012 sitting have yet to be claimed or paid.

Administrative support to the Appeals Board is provided by my Department.

School Enrolments Data

Questions (249)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

249. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children who were no more than five years of age when they first enrolled and attended primary school in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9897/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

We collect information on primary children by the year that they were born rather than by date of birth. Please see the attached table with the number of 4 and 5 year old children enrolled from 2007-2011.

Year

Age

Mainstream Pupils

2007

4

26256

2007

5

36043

2008

4

26932

2008

5

37415

2009

4

25894

2009

5

38027

2010

4

25016

2010

5

37947

2011

4

26768

2011

5

41126

School Enrolments Data

Questions (250)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

250. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children who were no more than four years old when they first enrolled and attended primary school in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9898/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

We collect information on primary children by the year that they were born rather than by date of birth. Please see the following table with the number of 4 year old children enrolled from 2007-2011.

Year

Age

Mainstream Pupils

2007

4

26256

2008

4

26932

2009

4

25894

2010

4

25016

2011

4

26768

Early Child Care Education

Questions (251)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

251. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason an apparent policy is being pursued of facilitating public primary schools for extensions for early childhood care and education rooms in view of the consequent displacement of a significant number of community and private child care facilities which exist, many of which have been funded under EOCP; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9900/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department does not have a policy of encouraging schools to set up pre-school services in competition with services that have been funded through the EOCP or its successor programme. If the Deputy knows of schools where this has occurred, perhaps she could bring them to my attention.

Student Grant Scheme Design

Questions (252)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

252. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will consider changing the student grant scheme so that mortgage repayments are considered in the means test for grant eligibility due to there being an increasing number of families that have suffered drastic reductions in means under the burden of substantial home mortgage payments that have not reduced or that may have increased as a result of recent hikes in interest rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9902/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The assessment of means under my Department's student grant scheme is based on gross income from all sources. Therefore, all income is assessed from the same starting point, eliminating any distortion which might arise from different spending decisions.

I have no plans at present to change this arrangement in respect of the determination of income for grant purposes.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (253)

Emmet Stagg

Question:

253. Deputy Emmet Stagg asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the tender has now been awarded to the successful contractor in respect of the completion of a school (details supplied) in County Kildare; when the contractor will be on site and the timeframe stipulated in the contract for the completion of the work. [9928/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that my Department has recently authorised the issue of the letter of intent to the preferred bidder. The contractor must now produce certain documentation such as a bond, insurances, tax clearance etc. Subject to receipt of all the required documentation and provided no further issues arise, it is anticipated that the contractor will commence on site later this year and the project will be completed in quarter 2.

Student Grant Scheme Design

Questions (254)

Jack Wall

Question:

254. Deputy Jack Wall asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a submission (details supplied); his plans to address the concerns raised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9935/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that a dedicated capital assets test implementation group was established to bring forward detailed implementation proposals on new means testing arrangements for student grants, to include the value of assets. No decisions have been taken in relation to the inclusion of farm or other business assets in any new means testing arrangements.

I have received a draft report from the implementation group. This is currently under consideration and I will consult further with my cabinet colleagues. Any proposals in this regard will require Government agreement and necessitate legislative amendment.

School Enrolments

Questions (255)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

255. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the review of school enrolment policies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9949/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that in 2011, I launched a discussion paper on school enrolment. The "Discussion Paper on a Regulatory Framework for School Enrolment" contains suggestions on how to make the process of enrolling in schools more open, equitable and consistent and is available on my Department's website.

I also invited education partners and interested parties to submit their views to my Department. The feedback from this consultation has helped inform the nature and scope of a new regulatory framework for school enrolment.

I intend to bring legislative proposals to Government this year, the primary aim of which will be to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that every child has a place at school.

School Curriculum

Questions (256)

Joanna Tuffy

Question:

256. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on proposals to bring in politics as a leaving certificate subject; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9950/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A syllabus for Politics and Society as a new subject in the Leaving Certificate was submitted to my Department by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment in May 2011.

The implementation issues are being examined at present in the context of overall system priorities and resources.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (257)

John McGuinness

Question:

257. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland will be expedited in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Carlow. [9964/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that the student referred to by the Deputy has been awarded a grant and an award letter issued on 20th February, 2013.

Education Schemes

Questions (258)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

258. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on the springboard initiative to date; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number of participants under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months or more prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10015/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested is being currently being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Education Schemes

Questions (259, 260, 261)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

259. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on the back to education initiative in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months or more prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10016/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

260. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on the VTOS programme in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months or more prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10017/13]

View answer

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

261. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on post leaving certificate courses in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10018/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 259 to 261, inclusive, together.

Statistics on the programmes referred to by the Deputy are provided in the following table.As the 2012 statistics for BTEI and VTOS are not yet available figures for 2011 have been provided.

The PLC statistics provided are for the 2012/2013 academic year. A figure for the number of unemployed participants in PLC is not included as this information has not been received from all VECs. However my Department is aware from consultations with the Department of Social Protection that there are 8,169 participants in PLC in receipt of a Back To Education Allowance (BTEA). My Department does not have a breakdown on the number of unemployed participants by age as this is not currently being collected by VECs. Arrangements are being made to have full data on participants in all further education programmes returned by VECs to my Department for future years.

Programme:

BTEI

VTOS

PLC

Year:

2011

2011

2012/13

Total number of participants

32,030

5,650

35,609

Total number of participants aged under 25

4,835

945

24,643

Total number unemployed

12,638

4,211*

-

Total number unemployed for 12 months or more

8,100

2,929

-

* Had been in receipt of JA/JB. The remaining learners had been in receipt of One Parent Family Payment or Disability Allowance etc.

Education and Training Provision

Questions (262)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

262. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on the local training initiative in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10019/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

This is a day to day operational matter for FÁS. The information the Deputy sought is not readily available. I have asked FÁS to collate this data as soon as possible. When received I will forward directly to the Deputy.

Education and Training Provision

Questions (263)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

263. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on national traineeship programme in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10020/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

This is a day to day operational matter for FÁS. The information the Deputy sought is set out in the following table, which has been provided by FÁS.

In Training (December 2012) - Throughput (December 2012)

Under 25 years

25 years & Over

TOTAL

Under 25 and unemployed for over 12 Months prior to starting scheme

Under 25 years

25 years & Over

Total

Under 25 and unemployed for over 12 Months prior to starting scheme

Under 25 years

25 years & Over

Total

Under 25 and unemployed for over 12 Months prior to starting scheme

Trainee-

ship

5,234

2,186

566

1,045

1,366

2,411

283

1,141

1,682

2,823

283

Notes:

1. Beneficiaries refers to the numbers of participants in training as 31st December 2012 plus the throughput for 2012.

2. Throughput refers to the number of persons that finished their programmes

Education and Training Provision

Questions (264)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

264. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on wider horizon programme in 2012; the total number of participants aged under 25 years and the total number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10021/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

This is a day to day operational matter for FÁS.

I understand that a total of 609 individuals participated in the Wider Horizons Programme in 2012. Of the 609 who participated, 218 were from the Republic of Ireland. Of the 218 who participated in the Republic of Ireland, 15 were over 25 and 203 were under 25. 35 participants under 25 were unemployed for 12 months or more.

Labour Market

Questions (265)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Question:

265. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of participants on labour market activation programme run in 2010 and 2011 in 2012 who were under 25 years; the total number aged under 25 years and unemployed for 12 months prior to participating in the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10022/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Labour Market Activation Fund was launched in 2010 and its programmes completed in June 2011. Project providers were asked to capture the number of participants completing programmes on an under and over 35s basis. Of those who successfully completed programmes, some 6,781 were under the age of 35. In line with the eligibility criteria for this Fund, all participants had to be unemployed for more than 3 months in order to participate in the programme. Projects were not required to capture the number of participants who were unemployed for 12 months or more.

As part of the Government's "Action Plan for Jobs" initiative, FÁS is administering the Labour Market Education & Training Fund (LMETF), which was launched in December 2012 as MOMENTUM. This fund is a successor to the Labour Market Activation Fund and the aim of the Fund is to provide a range of quality, relevant education & training interventions for up to 6,500 individuals who are long-term unemployed.

Training will be provided within the context of four themes, three of which will support occupational clusters where demand and vacancies exist within certain Labour Market sectors. A fourth theme will focus on the specific needs of people under 25 who are unemployed, assisting them to access and/or return to the Labour Market.

The Department of Social Protection now has responsibility for Labour Market Activation programmes and policy.

School Accommodation

Questions (266)

Pat Deering

Question:

266. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will issue on an a application for additional funding for renovation works for a primary school (details supplied) in County Carlow. [10119/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In March 2012 the school referred to by the Deputy was approved devolved funding for the construction of 2 mainstream classrooms under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme. The school authorities have applied for additional funding to enable them build 2 mainstream classrooms and a GP Room. A member of the Department's Professional and Technical staff is due to visit the school in the coming days.

A decision on the school's application for additional funding will be made following this visit and the school authorities notified accordingly.

Residential Institutions Issues

Questions (267)

Tom Hayes

Question:

267. Deputy Tom Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide information regarding a fund to be administered by his Department to support survivors of institutional abuse (details supplied). [10122/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 was enacted in July 2012 and provides for the establishment of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Board. The Board is being established to use the cash contributions of up to €110 million pledged by the religious congregations to support the needs of some 15,000 survivors of residential institutional child abuse. This support will involve the provision of a range of approved services, including health and personal social services, education services and housing services.

Those eligible to apply for assistance from the Fund are those former residents who received awards from the Residential Institutions Redress Board or who received an award or settlement in court proceedings and who would otherwise have received an award from the Redress Board.

Arrangements to establish the Fund are being pursued. I have nominated Sylda Langford to become Chairperson of the Board and in accordance with Government procedures, Ms Langford met with the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection on February 20th to discuss the approach she will take as Chairperson and her views about the future contribution of the new organisation. I intend to appoint the remaining members to the Board shortly. The process to recruit a Chief Executive Officer (Designate) is underway and I look forward to the early appointment of a suitably qualified individual, whose responsibilities will include driving the various elements of the establishment process.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (268)

John McGuinness

Question:

268. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny will be awarded a Student Universal Support Ireland grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10144/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that it is awaiting the final course acceptance form from the student in question to enable her grant application to be processed to finality. This has been requested from the student.