Special Education Review

Questions (244)

Simon Harris

Question:

244. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way he plans to respond to policy advice on the future of special needs education from the National Council for Special Education; if an implementation group will be appointed to progress this report; if he expects parents and teachers to be involved in this group; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30161/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that last year I requested the NCSE to review and make recommendations on the supports that we provide to children with special educational needs and how they are allocated, to ensure we are delivering the best possible educational experience and outcomes for our children.

In preparing this policy advice the NCSE consulted widely with parents of children with special educational needs, representative bodies and the education partners.

The NCSE have now published their policy advice on Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs in Schools, which is available on the website www.ncse.ie. The NCSE Report is clear that there are many aspects of the current system which parents and schools are very happy with. However, the NCSE also considers that there are concerns in relation to some aspects of our current system, under the headings of Enrolment, Assessments, and the Supports for children with Special Educational Needs and their allocation. The Report makes 28 detailed recommendations which the NCSE feels would help to address these issues.

The recommendations in the Report are both interesting and significant. They deserve in-depth and detailed examination and exploration. Accordingly, I have asked my Department to carefully review the recommendations and report back to me on them.

The report recommends that under the new resource allocation model proposed by the NCSE in its report, children should be allocated additional resources in line with their level of need, rather than by disability category.

I have requested the NCSE to immediately proceed to establish a Working Group in order to develop a proposal for consideration for a new Tailored Allocation Model, which is set out as one of the principal recommendations of the report. This proposal will then be considered by my Department.

I am very conscious that in making any changes to our supports for children with Special Educational Needs, we also need to protect the gains we have made. I would therefore like to give an assurance that consultation will be a key aspect in the implementation of any of these recommendations.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (245)

Denis Naughten

Question:

245. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 282 of 14 May 2013, the reason a letter cannot be issued from Student Universal Support Ireland with the correct award on it in respect of a person (details supplied); when the 50% of the fees awarded will in fact be paid; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30166/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy is eligible for a Fee grant of 50%. A correct award letter will issue in the coming days to the applicant.

Special Educational Needs Data

Questions (246, 247)

Finian McGrath

Question:

246. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children at primary school level diagnosed with ADHD and the number of hours of support provided either through special needs assistants, resource teachers or other assistance to these children. [30178/13]

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Finian McGrath

Question:

247. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children at secondary school level diagnosed with ADHD; and the number of hours of support provided either through special needs assistants, resource teachers or other assistance to these children. [30179/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 246 and 247 together.

The Deputy will be aware that 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 (SNAs) to schools to support children with special educational needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. This now includes a requirement for the NCSE to have regard to an overall cap on the number of SNA posts. I wish to advise the Deputy that there is not presently a distinct disability category of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) for resource allocation purposes. Such children may be receiving supports in schools via their inclusion within other disability categorisations, such as mild general learning difficulty, or a low incidence disability categorisation, while also having ADHD. Pupils with ADHD may receive additional teaching support either under the General Allocation Model in primary schools or equivalent provision in post primary schools if their educational assessments place them in the mild general learning disability category. Pupils with who are diagnosed with EBD or more complex needs as defined by the Department's Circular Sp Ed 02/05, are supported through an allocation of individual additional resource teaching hours allocated by the National Council for Special Education. As such, it is not possible to advise of the number of children with ADHD who are receiving additional supports in mainstream primary and post primary education. The NCSE has recently published statistical information in relation to the allocation of SNA posts and resource teaching hours to Primary, Special and Post Primary Schools. The information is provided on a county by county and school by school basis and is available on its website at www.ncse.ie.

The NCSE have also detailed the number of children being supported with additional resources in schools by disability category breakdown in their recently published report Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs in Schools, which is also available at www.ncse.ie.

Teacher Recruitment

Questions (248, 253)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

248. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if in the case of a two teacher school, principal plus one, the second teacher is entitled to a deputy principal allowance and or special duties post; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30189/13]

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Michael Creed

Question:

253. Deputy Michael Creed asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will outline the procedure involved for a school which is being sanctioned a post of responsibility before payment for this post is sanctioned; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30222/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 248 and 253 together.

When the moratorium on the filling of posts of responsibility was introduced the Government exempted Principal and Deputy Principal posts in all primary and post-primary schools and these posts continue to be replaced in the normal manner. The impact of the moratorium is therefore limited to the Director of Adult Education, Assistant Principal and Special Duties posts of responsibility. Vacancies at this level arise due to retirements in the specific grades and typically also from the knock on effect of filling Principal and Deputy Principal posts. In accordance with the terms of my Departments Circular 07/2003 - Appointments to Posts of Responsibility, the second teacher in a two teacher school may be paid a special duties allowance, subject to the conditions set out in that circular. In the event that a post of responsibility is approved the school should complete the POR1amend form in respect of the person appointed to the post. The circular and form to which I have referred are available on the Department's website.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (249)

Simon Harris

Question:

249. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the number of special needs assistant posts in a special needs school (details supplied) in County Wicklow; if there have been any additional allocations of special needs resources in view of the acute demand and circumstances; the action currently being considered to address the acute demand and altered circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30194/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of Special Needs Assistants to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department.

All schools were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013.

The NCSE has now published details of all of their allocations for SNA support for the 2013/2014 school year. These details are now available on the NCSE website, www.ncse.ie. Details of the allocations made for each school, including the school referred to by the deputy, are provided on this website on a per county basis.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (250)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

250. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application to Student Universal Support Ireland in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Mayo; if the application will be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30205/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that the applicant referred to by the Deputy was issued with a decision on the 30th May 2013 advising her that she was deemed ineligible to receive a grant.

SUSI also confirmed that on the 19th of June they had received further documents from the applicant and they are currently being examined and the student will be notified directly by SUSI of the outcome in the coming days.

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. The relevant appeal form will be available on request from SUSI.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (251)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

251. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills when construction work will begin on a permanent school building for a school (details supplied) in Dublin 18; and the projected deadline for the completion of the new building. [30209/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of the tender process. Subject to no issues arising, it is anticipated that construction will commence in July 2013 and the project will be completed in late 2014.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Question No. 253 answered with Question No. 248.

Questions (252)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

252. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason resource allocation hours have not been provided to a person (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30217/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports, including Resource Teaching support for children with more complex special needs. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such supports. All schools were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013. The NCSE has now published details of all of their allocations for resource teaching support for the 2013/2014 school year. These details are now available on the NCSE website, www.ncse.ie, and detail the allocations made for each school on a per county basis. The NCSE has retained a number of Resource Teacher posts to meet late or emergency applications received up to the begining of the school year. Applications received after the initial closing date for allocations, or where additional material to support an application was received after this date, will be considered at this point. In the interim, schools may provide additional teaching support for those pupils who need it from the existing resource teaching or general allocation model allocations. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Question No. 253 answered with Question No. 248.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (254)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

254. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to include a school (details supplied) in a new educational campus which is to open in August 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30227/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the campus in question will host a new community school to facilitate the amalgamation of the three existing post primary schools in the area under a Public Private Partnership arrangement. This project is on the Five Year Plan and is expected to proceed to construction in 2015/2016. A project for the school referred to by the Deputy is not included on this campus. My Department is continuing to work with the school in question in relation to the school's long term accommodation requirements. In the meantime, capital funding for roof repairs was approved to the school last year to improve the existing accommodation.

Services for People with Disabilities

Questions (255)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

255. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are special grants available for transport to and from third level education where a student has a physical disability and is unable to find suitable accommodation near the college; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30231/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD) provides funding to both further and higher education institutions for the provision of services and supports for full-time students with disabilities. The Fund aims to ensure that students can participate fully in their academic programmes and are not disadvantaged by reason of a disability.

A claim under the Fund is made on behalf of an eligible student by their college following an assessment of need. Applications cannot be made directly to the Fund by students. Colleges are also responsible for the management of the funding approved for eligible students.

There are three types of assistance typically provided under the Fund for Students with Disabilities:

- Assistive Technology Equipment and Software;

- Personal and Academic Support; and

- Transport.

The Fund for Students with Disabilities is managed by the HEA on behalf of my Department. The student in question can contact the disability or access officer in his institution for information on the Fund for Students with Disabilities. Further details of the services and supports which are funded can be found on www.studentfinance.ie.

Student Grant Scheme Delays

Questions (256)

Tom Fleming

Question:

256. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine an application to Student Universal Support Ireland for a higher education grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry with whom there is undue delay and repetitive requests seeking further information which they have already supplied a number of times previously to SUSI; if he will intervene with SUSI to resolve the prolonged process that they have been put through; and if he will ensure that this grant is paid at an early date. [30249/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, his student grant application was appealed to the appeals officer in SUSI on the 20th of June 2013. The appeal is currently being examined and the student will be notified directly by SUSI of the outcome. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and remains of the view that SUSI has not interpreted the scheme correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the Student Grant Appeals Board. The relevant appeal form will be available on request from SUSI.

Higher Education Courses Provision

Questions (257)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

257. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to allow fee discounts, or fully funded places, on part time university run FETAC Level 7 certificate courses to allow funded access for those in receipt of social welfare payments who are trying to upskill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30259/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Springboard programme strategically targets funding of free part-time flexible higher education courses for unemployed and previously self-employed people in areas where there are identified labour market skills shortages or employment opportunities. All Springboard courses lead to an accredited higher education or training award at level 6 (Certificate) to level 9 (Masters Degree) on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Since it was first launched in 2011, the programme has supported more than 10,000 unemployed people to undertake part time higher education courses in areas such as ICT, Pharamchem and International Financial Services.

Under Springboard 2013, which I launched on 21 June, an additional 6,000 places are being rolled out on over 200 different courses in public, private and not-for-profit higher education providers around the country. To be eligible for a place on a Springboard course a person must be unemployed, actively seeking employment, and be in receipt of one of the qualifying Department of Social Protection payments or be signing for credits or be previously self employed. Further information on Springboard 2013 is available on the dedicated information and applications website: www.springboardcourses.ie. Information and advice is also available to prospective students at the Springboard freephone guidance service on 1800 303 523.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (258, 288)

Tom Fleming

Question:

258. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will expedite a student grant payment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30263/13]

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Seán Fleming

Question:

288. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will expedite a student grant payment that is overdue in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30605/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 288 together.

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy was issued an award letter on the 12th June 2013. I also understand that SUSI has contacted the applicant with regards to uploading his bank details on line in order for payments to commence.

Foirne Scoile

Questions (259)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

259. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an bhfuil freagra aige ar na hábhair imní a ardaíodh i gcomhfhreagras a seoladh chuige ó scoil i nDún na nGall (sonraí tugtha); agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [30267/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Tugtar faomhadh gach bliain do leithdháiltí na múinteoirí de réir rialacha seanbhunaithe atá bunaithe ar líon na ndaltaíaitheanta atá rollaithe. Tá na socruithe foirnithe ag an mbunleibhéal don scoilbhliain 2013/14 foilsithe ag mo Roinnse i gCiorclán 0013/2013 atá le fáil ar shuíomh gréasáin mo Roinne. San áireamh anseo tá na figiúirí do cheapacháin agus coimeád (Aguisín A) agus an tSamhail LeithdháilteGhinearálta/Béarla mar Theanga Bhreise - an leithdháileadh tacaíochta foghlama/teanga (Aguisín C) do na scoileanna go léir.

Is é an líon daltaí a theastaíonn sula bhfaigheann bunscoil aon-oide ar bith an dara múinteoir rangsheomra ná 17.

Tá foráil speisialta sna socruithe foirnithe féin chun cur ar chumas scoileanna oileáin an dara nó an tríú post múinteoireachta rangsheomra a choimeád áit gurb í an scoil an t-aon bhunscoil atá fágtha ar an oileán.

Ciallaíonn an fhoráil speisialta seo gur féidir an post a choimeád, faoi réir ag líon áirithe daltaí a bheith coimeádta, fiú sa chás go mbíonn laghdú ar líon na ndaltaí i scoil oileáin a gcaillfí an dara nó an tríú post múinteoireachta rangsheomra dá bharr sna scoileanna i gcoitinne. I gcás an dara post príomhshrutha ní mór líon iomlán de 8 ndalta nó os a chionn sin a bheith sa scoil agus gan aon bhunscoil eile a bheith fágtha ar an oileán. I gcás na mbunscoileanna eile go léir is é an figiúr sa chás seo faoi láthair ná 17 ndalta. I gcás an tríú phoist phríomhshruthaní mór líon iomlán de 45 dalta nó os a chionn sin a bheith sa scoil agus gan aon bhunscoil eile a bheith fágtha ar an oileán. I gcás na mbunscoileanna eile go léir is é an figiúr sa chás seo faoi láthair ná 54 dalta. Tá an t-eolas seo leagtha amach i Rannán 3 de Chiorclán 0013/2013.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (260)

Gerald Nash

Question:

260. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a final review following an appeal being upheld in respect of payment of a higher education grant to a person (details supplied) in County Louth; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30271/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, her application was reassessed and on the 19th June 2013, a revised award letter issued to the student.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (261)

Gerald Nash

Question:

261. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the review of the decision not to award a higher education grant to a person (details supplied) in County Louth on the basis that they were not attending a full time course when the college had provided confirmation that the course is in fact full time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30272/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that the applicant referred to by the Deputy was issued with a decision on the 13th June 2013 advising her that she was deemed ineligible to receive 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. The relevant appeal form will be available on request from SUSI.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (262)

Gerald Nash

Question:

262. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for a higher education grant in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30274/13]

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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 1st May, 2013.