HGV Driving Courses

Questions (78)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

78. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to any discrepency on a county basis between the number of hours of lessons offered to participants on HGV driving courses for which participants have received funding from FÁS; the reasons for such a discrepency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21012/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am not aware of the issue raised by the Deputy but if he can provide some additional information I would be happy to have the matter looked into further. However, I understand that the majority of HGV driving courses are funded under the Technical Employment Support Grant which is a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Social Protection.

Higher Education Institutions Issues

Questions (79)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

79. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide, in tabular form, broken down by years for each since 2000 and for each institute of technology and university, the cost of compliance with section 35 of the University Act 1997 (Quality Assurance); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20858/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information sought is not readily available in my Department. Officials of my Department are seeking to compile the details and I will forward any available information to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Higher Education Institutions Expenditure

Questions (80)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

80. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide, in tabular form, the amount of money spent on external legal fees divided between human resources and other issues since 2000, broken down by institute of technology and by university and by year. [20860/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information sought is not readily available in my Department. Officials of my Department are seeking to compile the details and I will forward any available information to the Deputy as soon as possible.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (81)

Pat Breen

Question:

81. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 251 of 22 January 2013, if he will provide an update in the status of an application (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20887/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating Resource Teachers and Special Needs Assistants to schools to support children with special educational needs. SENOs also make recommendations to my Department where assistive technology support is required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in recommending such support.

I can confirm that an application for Assistive Technology support for Patrick Ward was sanctioned by my Department on 24th January, 2013. Once equipment has been sanctioned, it is a matter for school authorities to arrange for the purchase of the equipment for use by the pupil in the school.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (82)

Patrick Nulty

Question:

82. Deputy Patrick Nulty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are any training or education opportunities available for young persons with hearing difficulties in the Dublin area; if he will outline details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20888/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department provides for an extensive range of supports to assist pupils and young persons who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

In line with my Department's policy that children with special educational needs access appropriate education intervention in mainstream settings where possible, many Deaf or hard of hearing pupils are integrated into mainstream classes at primary and post-primary level with the assistance, as necessary, of resource teaching and Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support. In addition, there are 2 Special schools in Dublin for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing who require a Special School placement. An enhanced capitation grant is provided to these schools as well as enhanced pupil teacher ratios and SNA support, where required. Grant-aid is also provided to schools towards the provision of special equipment for pupils who are hard of hearing, such as sound field systems and radio aids.

My Department also provides funding for an Irish Sign language (ISL) tuition service whereby tutors visit the homes of deaf and hard of hearing pre-school children and school-going pupils to provide training in Irish Sign ISL for these children, their siblings and parents. The Visiting Teacher Service for Children and Young People with a Hearing Impairment is provided by my Department from the time of referral through to third level education. The Visiting Teacher service works in partnership with parents of pre-school children with hearing impairment, visiting their homes and/or meeting them in groups to inform, advise and offer guidance in matters pertaining to their education and overall development and in helping their children to derive maximum benefit from the educational opportunities available. The service is available at pre-school, primary and post-primary levels.

My Department, through the Higher Education Authority (HEA), has established and funds a Centre for Deaf Studies in Trinity College, Dublin which provides diploma courses for ISL/English interpreters, deaf tutors and in deaf studies. The course modules deal with issues such as sign linguistics, bi-lingualism and socio-linguistics of sign language. The course is delivered in seminar sessions/group work and the award of the diploma is based on continued assessment and a project and course design.

I wish to advise the Deputy that people with disabilities, including those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, are eligible to access FÁS mainstream services. FÁS provides 2,110 specialist vocational training places for people with disabilities who do not avail of the mainstream options through Specialist Training Providers (STPs). Learners on Specialist Training programmes have the opportunity to participate in training ranging from FETAC level 3 to level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). All training programmes delivered through these interventions address both the generic and vocational skills requirements of participating learners.

Specialist training offers additional supports to learners which include individualised training and progression plans, literacy and numeracy support, longer training duration, adapted equipment, transport arrangements, enhanced programme content and enhanced trainer/learner ratio. Finally, the Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) scheme also provides a third level admissions scheme for school leavers who have a disability or specific learning difficulty, including Deafness. Students who are considered to be DARE eligible may secure a college place on a reduced points basis. Details of the DARE scheme are available at www. accesscollege.ie. Additional supports for young adults with special educational needs are also provided by Disability Officers in third level colleges.

I understand that the Deputy has submitted this question also to the Departments of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation and Social Protection who will advise further in this regard

Schools Health and Safety Issues

Questions (83)

Joe McHugh

Question:

83. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the health and safety guidelines that pertain in respect of supervision of primary school children; if there is a pupil-adult ratio regarding same; the number of students per campus that is permissible per adult; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20891/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the provisions of the Education Act 1998, the board of management is the body charged with the direct governance of a school. Schools are required to take all reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of pupils and welfare of their pupils and it is the responsibility of each individual managerial authority to arrange for appropriate supervision of its pupils.

My Department has not issued specific guidelines on requirements for supervision of pupils and acknowledges that the degree of supervision required in any given school will depend on the school's particular circumstances and on factors such as the age and maturity of the pupils concerned, the nature and layout of the accommodation and play areas available etc.

In accordance with the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989, it is the responsibility of individual school management authorities to have a safety statement in place in their schools. The Statement should identify potential hazards, assess the risks to health and safety and put appropriate provision in place to safeguard the safety and health of employees and pupils.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (84)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

84. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he if will be maintaining the current student - teacher ratio of 17:1 in the further education sector in the budget for 2014. [20902/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The current pupil teacher ratio (PTR) for the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme is due to change from 17:1 to 19:1 with effect from 1 September 2013 for the 2013/2014 academic year in accordance with the decision taken by the Government last year as part of the budgetary process.

Bullying in Schools

Questions (85)

Pádraig MacLochlainn

Question:

85. Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any secondary school here, funded by the Exchequer can refuse the placing of an information poster to support LGBT students from an organisation also funded by the Exchequer, in the notice board space of that school; and if he will advise of his Department's policy on the matter. [20908/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I assume the Deputy is referring to an information poster produced as part of the educational pack for the Stand Up! Awareness Week Against Homophobic & Transphobic Bullying which is organised by BeLonG To Youth Services. The Stand Up! Awareness Week is aimed at creating positive understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people and their issues. Participation in the Stand Up! Awareness Week provides principals and teachers with the opportunity to engage young people in fun and educational activities which aim to increase awareness, build supportive links among young people and reduce the incidence of bullying and name-calling.

Stand Up! educational packs are supplied to all second level schools free of charge and schools are actively encouraged to participate on a voluntary basis. As the Deputy has indicated in his question, the Stand Up! Awareness Week is being provided with financial support by my Department. Support for Stand Up! is one of twelve key actions in the Action Plan on Bullying, which I launched earlier this year. Stand Up! is also being supported by education stakeholders including: Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI); Institute of Guidance Counsellors; Irish Second Level Students Union (ISSU); Irish Vocational Education Association (IVEA); Joint Managerial Body for secondary schools (JMB; National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD); and Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI). It would be very disappointing if a school refused to allow a Stand Up! Poster to be displayed on the school's notice board. I would suggest that, if this is the case, that the issue is raised with the school's board of management in the first instance.

My Department is currently working with the education partners to finalise new anti-bullying procedures for schools which will be issued for the start of the next school year. These new procedures will include a specific reference to preventing and tackling homophobic and transphobic bullying and there will be new requirements placed on schools to ensure that anti-bullying policies are implemented.

Schools Recognition

Questions (86)

Joe McHugh

Question:

86. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review a submission from a school (details supplied) in County Donegal that proposes to continue to provide a valuable educational facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20941/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, permanent recognition was granted to the Aonod Gaelach at the school in question from 1st September 2010 on the basis of a projected enrolment of over 50 pupils. Since permanent recognition was granted, the Aonod Gaelach enrolment has declined year on year with a total enrolment of 7 pupils for the 2012/2013 academic year. In light of the dramatic decrease in enrolments at the Aonod Gaelach since permanent recognition was granted in 2010, concerns have been raised regarding its viability. In October 2012, the Department contacted the school authorities and requested that immediate action be taken to increase the Aonod Gaelach enrolments. The school authorities responded in November 2012 providing information as to mechanisms being employed to encourage pupils to study through the medium of Irish and its committment to increasing the enrolment attending the Aonod Gaelach. In that context, the Department set a target enrolment to be reached by 2016/2017. In the event this target is not reached, a further review of the future viability of the Aonad Gaelach will be conducted in 2016/17.