School Enrolments

Questions (84)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

84. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the mechanisms in place to ensure that children who have been adopted or fostered are not disadvantaged from enrolling in local schools where their is a high demand due to their inability to enrol at an early age; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21613/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The question of enrolment in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools. My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. In this regard a Board of Management may find it necessary to restrict enrolment to children from a particular area or a particular age group or, occasionally, on the basis of some other criterion. The criteria to be applied by schools in such circumstances are a matter for the schools themselves. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and the rights of parents to send their children to a school of the parents choice are respected.

Section 29 of the Education Act 1998, provides parents with an appeal process where a board of management of a school or a person acting on behalf of the Board refuses enrolment to a student. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to either the relevant Vocational Educational Committee or to the Secretary General of my Department. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The Board can be contacted at National Educational Welfare Board, National Headquarters, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7 or by telephone at 01-8738700.

As the Deputy will be aware, I announced at the recent Teacher Union Conferences that I will shortly bring to Government draft heads of a bill – the Education (Admission to School) Bill 2013. I will seek to publish the Bill in draft form to allow a full public discussion, including inputs from the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Education and Social Protection and the education partners. I also intend to publish draft regulations that I plan to make when the Bill is enacted. In bringing forward these proposals, it is not my intention to unnecessarily intrude into how schools do their business. My policy objective is to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that the way in which schools decide on applications is structured, fair and transparent. As the Bill and the Regulations will be published in draft form, they will also be subject to a lot of detailed scrutiny before becoming law. I will be reflecting carefully on the views expressed in the consultation process to ensure they strike the right balance between school autonomy and fairness in our education system.

School Patronage

Questions (85)

Dan Neville

Question:

85. Deputy Dan Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of all the private primary schools in both County Limerick and in the City of Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21621/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department does not fund any private primary schools or maintain a list of such schools.

Institutes of Technology Issues

Questions (86)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

86. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will ensure that the Killybegs Campus of Letterkenny Institute of Technology will continue to be supported as part of Letterkenny IT to ensure that the campus can continue to contribute to the provision of third level education in South West Donegal and the economic development of the area delivering courses in the school of tourism and renewable energies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21660/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Tourism College Killybegs is a school of the Letterkenny Institute of Technology (LYIT) which is an autonomous statutory body. The management of the College is the responsibility of the Governing Body and the President of Letterkenny Institute of Technology. No specific proposals concerning the future of the Killybegs campus of the Institute have been received from Letterkenny Institute of Technology by either the Higher Education Authority or my Department.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (87)

Thomas Pringle

Question:

87. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will add Down syndrome to the low incident list of intellectual disabilities to ensure that children can access the full suite of resources to help them to develop through the education system to their full ability; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21661/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware of this Government's ongoing commitment to ensuring that all children with special educational needs, including children with Down's syndrome, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs. The policy of my Department is to secure the maximum possible level of inclusion of students with special educational needs in mainstream primary and post-primary schools, or where a special school or special class placement may be required to ensure such placements are provided for. Pupils with Down's syndrome attending mainstream schools may receive additional teaching support in primary schools, either under the terms of the General Allocation Model (GAM) of teaching supports, if the pupil's educational psychological assessment places the pupil in the mild general learning disability/high incidence disability category, or through an allocation of individual additional resource teaching hours which are allocated by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), if the child is assessed as being within the low incidence category of special need, as defined by my Department's Circular Sp Ed 02/05. Pupils with Down's syndrome may be allocated resources under the category of mild general learning disability, or under the categories of moderate general learning difficulty or Assessed Syndrome, in conjunction with another Low Incidence disability. There is not presently a distinct disability category of Down's syndrome for resource allocation purposes.

I have asked the National Council for Special Education to provide me with policy advice on the issue of whether Down's syndrome should be reclassified as a low incidence disability in all instances, regardless of assessed cognitive ability. This advice will be included in the NCSE's comprehensive policy advice on how the education system can best support children with special educational needs which is currently in preparation and which is expected in the coming weeks.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (88)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

88. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) was refused a special rate grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21669/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department understand from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student in question does not meet the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme for the special rate of grant. If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to SUSI. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and 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 Student Grants Appeals Board.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (89)

John Perry

Question:

89. Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will agree to accept the 2011 statements of income from the parents of an applicant for a Student Universal Support Ireland application lodged in September 2012 [21671/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that further documentation was requested on 26th April , 2013 and is still outstanding. When the requested documentation is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome. The Deputy will appreciate that in the absence of all of the relevant details that would be contained in an individual's application it would not be possible for me to say whether or not a student should qualify for a grant. If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to the appeals officer in SUSI. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and 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 Grant Appeals Board.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (90)

Peter Mathews

Question:

90. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a new permanent building will be provided for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 16; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21674/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school, referred to by the Deputy, has applied to my Department for large scale capital funding for a new school. The current status of all projects on the school building programme, including the school in question, may be viewed on my Department's website at www.education.ie. and this is being updated regularly throughout the year.

As the Deputy will be aware, the school is currently in temporary accommodation on lands controlled by South Dublin County Council. At a recent meeting with the Council, my Department raised the issue of the land holding. The Council advised that they are endeavouring to rectify title issues in regard to a portion of the site on which the school resides. Once the Council is in a position to dispose of the land, it is my Department's intention to acquire same.

In light of the need to prioritise available funding for the provision of additional school accommodation, the delivery of major school projects required to meet future demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. The 5 Year Construction Plan that I announced in March 2012 outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Plan. It is not possible therefore at this point to indicate when a project for the school in question will be progressed.