Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Questions (105)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

105. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he continues to have dialogue with all fee-paying schools with particular reference to the need to recognise the contribution made by many such schools to society and keeping in mind that some suggested changes may result in increased costs to the tax payer; if he continues to have meaningful dialogue with such school authorities in an effort to ensure an amicable working arrangement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29631/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I have not had dialogue with all fee charging schools. However, a number of fee charging schools have made contacted with the Department and the level of engagement to date varies from school to school.Where the authorities of a school approach the Department about entering the Free Education scheme it is because they are concerned about the future viability of the school and wish to explore all options in considering the future of the school. I have made it clear that my Department will engage constructively with any fee charging school that is considering how best to secure its future. Any approach to my Department will be considered on an individual school by school basis, taking account of the significance of the provision concerned in terms of diversity and overall demand for school places in the locality served by a school. The Deputy will be aware that in the context of the Budget 2013, I made a further one point change to the staffing allocation of fee charging schools from September 2013.On the basis of the analysis I published earlier this year on the income from fees available to fee charging schools, I expect that a minority of the fee charging schools will wish to engage with my Department in planning for their future.