Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 93.

Questions (96)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

96. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills the criteria for eligibility and acceptance of applications for education grants. [18103/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The criteria for eligibility for a student grant is set out in the Student Support Act, 2011 and the Student Support Regulations 2012 and in the Student Grant Scheme 2012. Under the terms of the student grant scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means.

To determine eligibility, a student may submit a fully completed online grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland, via studentfinance.ie, once the application process for the 2013/14 academic year opens.

Question No. 97 answered with Question No. 93.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (98)

Seán Fleming

Question:

98. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills when site construction work will commence on a school project (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18107/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning. The design team are currently working on the Stage 2(b) submission, including the preparation of tender documents, which, on completion, will be forwarded to the Department for review.

The project is included on the five year Capital Investment Programme, announced in March 2012, to progress to tender and construction in 2013. When the Stage 2(b) submission is received and reviewed and assuming no issues arise, the project will then proceed to tender and construction stage.

Student Grant Scheme Payments

Questions (99)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

99. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a student grant has not been paid to a person (details supplied) in County Mayo despite being told by Student Universal Support Ireland that no further documentation was required and an award letter for the higher maintenance grant would issue in the coming days; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18109/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland, that on 1st February 2013, a request for further documentation was issued to the student referred to by the Deputy. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Asbestos Remediation Programme

Questions (100)

Brendan Smith

Question:

100. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if grant aid will be approved in respect of a project that needs to be undertaken urgently as outlined in written representations (details supplied) in County Cavan; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18119/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has recently advised the OPW to appoint a Design Team to carry out works to remove and replace the asbestos roof at the school in question.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (101)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

101. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the building of a new school (details supplied) in County Offaly will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18161/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Responsibility for the delivery of the school referred to by the Deputy has been devolved to the Office of Public Works. The OPW have recently forwarded a tender report for this school project to the Department and the Department is currently, with the OPW, considering these documents. The school project is being progressed so that the accommodation required for the school will be provided at the earliest possible date within the Department's five year construction programme.

My Department is in contact with the school to ensure that there is sufficient accommodation for September 2013.

Teachers' Remuneration

Questions (102)

Finian McGrath

Question:

102. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on DES Circular 0008/2013 (details supplied). [18199/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I think it would be useful if I set out the sequence of policy and budgetary measures in relation to new appointees to teaching and their pay entitlements. The first measure took effect on 1 September 2010. It requires that, in order to be eligible to receive the qualified rate of pay and allowances, a person on their first appointment to teaching must be registered with the Teaching Council and appropriately qualified for that position or sector. This was introduced for the purpose of ensuring quality and promoting professional standards in teaching and this goal has been strongly supported by the teacher unions.

The second measure was taken as part of Budget 2011. The last Government applied a reduction in the pay of new entrants to the public service. In the case of new teachers, a reduction of 10% was applied to pay and certain allowances and all new teachers were required to start on the first point of the scale rather than the third point as had previously been the case for most teachers. The new pay rates applied to all teachers who were new appointees appointed on or after 1 January 2011. Where a person gave any service - qualified or unqualified - in an analogous teaching position before 1 January 2011, he or she was not regarded as a new appointee to teaching and so was not affected by this measure.

The third measure formed part of Budget 2012 and related to qualification allowances. The Government announced that additional qualification allowances would not be payable to existing teachers and new teachers would be paid qualification allowances up to a maximum of the allowance applicable to an honours primary degree level.

Furthermore, in 2012 a public service-wide review of allowances was also carried out by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and, pending its outcome, the payment of qualification allowances was suspended with effect from 1 February 2012. As a result of the review, the Government abolished qualification allowances with effect from that date and a new salary scale was created with a starting point equivalent to the fourth point of the previous scale. This reduced the impact of the ending of the qualification allowances and ensured a broad consistency across the public service.

The introduction of this new salary scale has been a complex task which has required a detailed implementation process. My Department, in consultation with VECs, is working through the operational aspects of these changes as they affect existing teachers and their pay.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (103)

Finian McGrath

Question:

103. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding special needs assitants in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow. [18202/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to clarify that the staff referred to by the Deputy are not funded by my Department. I am aware that the Association in question is experiencing difficulties as my officials are in direct contact with the school under the Association's management and with the Health Service Executive.

I wish to clarify that the level of teaching and Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support allocated to the school for the 2012/13 school year remains in place. My Department continues to support the school through the ongoing provision of funding for the principal, teaching and special needs assistant staff in the school as well as the normal supplementary funding provided to such schools. The school has assured my officials that the posts in the school which are funded by my Department remain unaffected by the Association's recent difficulties.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (104)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

104. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 338 of 29 January 2013, if he will outline the reason that no progress has been made whatsoever in providing ASD units to mainstream schools by the NCSE at Primary Level in Limerick City, where SNOs are doing everything possible to work with limited resources, the reason the regular reply in this regard to constituents (details supplied) is provided by the NCSE when this matter is raised; if he will outline the plans for future development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18206/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I previously advised the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is an independent agency with responsibility for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports, including the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

The Deputy will also be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years.

I understand the NCSE has been in contact with the Deputy subsequent to his previous question to advise that SENOs are liaising with schools in relation to the establishment of special classes for pupils with Autism in Limerick and that parents may contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs.