Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (282)

Gerry Adams

Question:

282. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will investigate the circumstances surrounding the application under the student grant scheme to Student Universal Support Ireland, SUSI, in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Louth and the decision dated 9 April 2013 by the student grants appeals board to refer the matter back to the awarding authority for reconsideration; the reason the person received correspondence dated 4 June 2013 from SUSI stating that the applicant does not qualify for a grant, stating requested documentation was not furnished, when indeed no request had been received; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30537/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The case of the applicant referred to by the Deputy was considered by the Student Grants Appeals Board on the 9th April 2013. A copy of their determination was issued to the Appeals Officer in Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). The determination requested that SUSI should take into account a change in circumstance in relation to reckonable income. I understand Officials in SUSI have contacted the applicant directly by telephone and email and the applicant is presently arranging for submission of the requested documentation. When this is returned the student will be notified directly of the outcome.

Ministerial Transport

Questions (283)

Niall Collins

Question:

283. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total cost of ministerial transport in his Department in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013; the number of drivers employed in each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30551/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The cost of ministerial transport in 2010, 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013 is €101,974, €158,723, €198,184 and €108,128 respectively. These figures include the salary of the civilian drivers for the Minister and Minister of State, the subsistence costs incurred by the drivers and the amount of travel and subsistence paid to the Minister and the Minister of State. Cabinet Ministers with the exception of An Taoiseach, An Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice now provide their own car and are assigned 2 civilian drivers similar to the practice for a Minister of State. As a result of this there are 4 civilian drivers at my Department since 2011. All Cabinet ministers in the last Government were provided with a state car and drivers who were members of An Garda Síochána. The current Government on taking office decided to dispense with this practice due to its prohibitive cost, so while the cost incurred to this Department for Ministerial transport has increased primarily due to the employment of 2 additional Civilian Drivers, the overall cost of providing transport for Cabinet Ministers has been reduced considerably.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (284, 285)

Niall Collins

Question:

284. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total costs of photography incurred by his Department in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013 in tabular form per event. [30567/13]

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Niall Collins

Question:

285. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details and costs of any newspaper supplements his Department has been involved with in 2011, 2012 and to date in 2013. [30583/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 284 and 285 together.

My Department has not incurred any costs in connection with newspaper supplements in the years mentioned by the Deputy. The tabular statement gives details of two events that my Department paid for photography which amounted to €682. The following is a tabular statement of photography costs incurred at my Department since 9 March 2011.

Cost

Occasion

€381.15 (€315 + €66.15 VAT)

Copies of photographs of a school project and their use on an A1 display board which was submitted to the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland for the joint RIAI/Department colloquium on school design which was held on June 30th 2011 in Dublin.

€301.35 (€245 + €56.35 VAT)

Photographs taken on June 12th 2012 and circulated to media on the occasion of the visit of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, Marta Santos Pais, to participate in an international jury to oversee the design competition of a memorial to victims of childhood abuse in institutions in Ireland.

Schools Refurbishment

Questions (286)

James Bannon

Question:

286. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reasons for the delay in processing an application for funding for wheelchair access, and the installation of a disabled persons' toilet for a school (details supplied) in County Longford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30597/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding was recently approved for universal access works at Templemichael College and correspondence in this regard has issued to County Longford Vocational Education Committee.

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Question No. 288 answered with Question No. 258.

Questions (287)

James Bannon

Question:

287. Deputy James Bannon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reasons for the delay in processing an application for funding for the provision of a science room in a college (details supplied) in County Longford on the grounds of health and safety; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30598/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department received an application under the emergency works scheme from the school referred to by the Deputy for upgrade works to existing science rooms. As the scope of the works requested is outside the terms of the emergency works scheme it cannot be considered for funding. County Longford Vocational Education Committee have been informed of this decision.

Question No. 288 answered with Question No. 258.

Schools Numbers

Questions (289)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

289. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list the public secondary schools, either boys or co-ed, in the greater Dún Laoghaire area of Dublin; and if these schools adequately provide for the boys in this area. [30620/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the public second level boys' and co-educational schools in the Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown area are as follows:

Coláiste Eóin, Stillorgan

Oatland's College, Mount Merrion

Clonkeen College, Blackrock

St. Benildus College, Stillorgan

St. Laurence's College, Loughlinstown

De la Salle College, Churchtown

Newpark Comprehensive School, Blackrock

Ballinteer Community School

Cabinteely Community School

Holy Child Community School, Sallynoggin

St. Tiernan's Community School, Balally

The Forward Planning Section of my Department continuously analyses demographic trends to determine where additional school provision will be required into the future. My Department considers that there is sufficient capacity to cater for pupil numbers in the greater Dún Laoghaire area. As the Deputy is aware, my priority is to ensure that there is sufficient school accommodation nationally to meet projected pupil enrolment increases over the coming years. The 5 year Capital Investment Programme outlines the major school projects that will commence construction over the duration of the Programme. These have been prioritised on the basis of meeting significant demographic needs. In addition, my Department will consider applications by schools for funding for additional classrooms, which schools may provide on a permanent basis, where an immediate enrolment need is arising. Should any additional needs arise in the area referred to by the Deputy, they will be identified and met under this process.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (290)

Mick Wallace

Question:

290. Deputy Mick Wallace asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants from the reserve of 475 made available who have been appointed to positions in schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30623/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of such supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. The NCSE allocates a level of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of all of the qualifying children enrolled in the school.

In line with this Government's commitment to protect frontline services for pupils with special educational needs, 10,575 whole time equivalent (wte) Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts are being provided for primary, post-primary and special schools for the current school year in order to support the care needs of pupils with disabilities. This is the same number as in the previous year and there has been no reduction in the number of SNA posts available for allocation. The NCSE initially allocated 10,311 WTE SNA posts to schools for the 2012/13 school year, in June of last year, based on the number of valid applications received and the extent of the care needs of qualifying children. A further 176 WTE SNA posts have since been allocated to schools, giving a total of 10,487 posts allocated from the 10,575 posts available for allocation. The NCSE have also advised that every child who has met the criteria for access to SNA support in the current school year to date is in receipt of such support.

National Educational Psychological Service Administration

Questions (291)

Willie Penrose

Question:

291. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take to expedite an application for a psychological assessment in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30633/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can inform the Deputy that all primary and post primary schools have access to psychological assessments either directly through the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA), full details of which are on the Department's website. Where a NEPS psychologist is not assigned to a school, authorities therein may access psychological assessments through SCPA. Under this scheme schools can have an assessment carried out by a member of the panel of private psychologists approved by NEPS, and NEPS will pay the psychologist the fees for this assessment directly. It should also be noted that in common with many other psychological services, NEPS encourages a staged assessment process, whereby each school takes responsibility for a pupil's initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention. Only if there is a failure to make reasonable progress in spite of the school's best efforts, will a child be referred for individual psychological assessment.

It is the responsibility of the school Principal in the first instance to identify and prioritise pupils for assessment under the process described above. I have made enquiries in relation to the student referred to in the Deputy's question and understand that no request has been made by the school to the NEPS psychologist assigned to the school. I do understand however that the child is the subject of a referral to the HSE clinical services following an earlier referral to a Speech and Language therapist. I would advise that the parents contact the School Principal in relation to their son's situation and can assure that the services of the NEPS Psychologist are available to him if appropriate.

School Staffing Appeals Mechanism

Questions (292)

John O'Mahony

Question:

292. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason his Department will not consider an appeal by a person applying for Irish National Teachers Organisation primary school panel rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30639/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers to other schools that have vacancies. The redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers is key to the Department's ability to manage within its payroll budget and ceiling on teacher numbers. Thereafter, schools are required under the panel arrangements to fill permanent vacancies from supplementary panels comprised of eligible fixed-term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers. The application process for the supplementary panels was introduced for the 2012/13 school year. The arrangements for panel access for fixed term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers for the 2013/14 school year are set out in Department Circular 0038/2012 which was published on 9 November 2012 on the Department website. The period for submitting applications was between 9 November 2012 and 14 December 2012. The individual referred to by the Deputy submitted an application after the closing date. The circular made clear that late applications would not be considered. The Department has received a number of applications after the closing date which will not be processed.

School Staffing

Questions (293)

Brendan Smith

Question:

293. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if any primary school in counties Cavan and Monaghan will lose teaching positions in September 2013 as a result of changes to the pupil-teacher ratio; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30642/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Government has protected frontline services in schools to the greatest extent possible in this year's budget and there will be no reduction in teacher numbers in primary schools for the 2013/14 school year as a result of the budget. The DEIS scheme for disadvantaged schools is also fully protected with no overall changes to staffing levels or funding as a result of the budget. The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2013/2014 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0013/2013) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Details of the criteria for appeal are contained in the staffing schedule, Circular 0013/2013. The allocation process at individual school level is currently underway. The final staffing position for all schools will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and all appeals to the Staffing Appeals Board will have been considered.

Education Grants

Questions (294)

Paschal Donohoe

Question:

294. Deputy Paschal Donohoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will extend the remote area grant for island children to all boarding schools including those currently not eligible for the grant which would assist when parents wish to send their children to boarding schools rather than boarding houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30682/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The purpose of the Remote Area Boarding Grant is to give pupils who are educationally disadvantaged because of their remoteness from schools an opportunity to attend school on the same basis as other pupils not so disadvantaged. Pupils resident on off-shore islands that do not have a school providing suitable free second-level education may also qualify for assistance under the scheme. The grant is paid to the parents of the qualifying child. It is the responsibility of parents to ensure that the accommodation which they secure for their child is of an acceptable standard. My Department has no plans to extend the scheme to include schools outside of the free education system.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (295)

Andrew Doyle

Question:

295. Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the decision to bring the deadline forward by one month for applications to be made to Student Universal Support Ireland for the 2013/14 academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30687/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The closing date for applications to Student Universal Support Ireland for the academic year 2013/14 is a month earlier than the previous year. The decision was taken in consultation with SUSI and was done in order to facilitate earlier applications and decision on grant applications.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (296)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

296. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 325 of 11 June 2013, if it was intended that siblings in a family receiving assistance under the July provision scheme would be of a similar ability so that only one tutor would be allocated to the family; and his plans to make changes to the application process for the scheme for families in which there are siblings of differing abilities applying to the scheme to allow for the restoration of additional educational provision for children in this situation. [30693/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I previously advised the Deputy that the allocation of home based provision to siblings for July Provision is reflective of the school grouping principle. This is where one teacher is allocated to a class of six pupils at the appropriate educational level, primary or post primary. Accordingly it is considered appropriate, as in a school situation, that a tutor can provide tuition at the appropriate educational level to more than one sibling at that level simultaneously in the home. The school grouping principle does not purport to replicate or mirror all aspects of school based provision. The age or ability of siblings is reflected in their education level as determined by education and health professionals. In general where a child is receiving their education in a class setting with other children of mixed age and ability, this should carry through to their July Provision. However in recognition of the differing needs of some siblings, separate allocations will be considered on a case by case basis. Applications in this regard will require supporting documentation including professional reports from a psychologist or a letter from the principal of the school detailing the existing arrangements currently in place for the respective children and providing reasons why they cannot be tutored together in the home.

Student Support Schemes Issues

Questions (297)

Joe McHugh

Question:

297. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will explain the student financial options available to students of higher diplomas in education, who qualified for such diploma via completion of courses at the same FETAC level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30716/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The main financial support available to students attending higher education is my Department's Student Grant Scheme. 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. Students commencing a new course in the academic year 2013/14 are required to submit their grant application to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) via www.susi.ie. to have their eligibility for grant assistance assessed.

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course. In the absence of all of the details that would be contained in an individual's application form, it is not possible for me to say if the student is progressing to a course at a higher level. Tax relief is also available on tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (298)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

298. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the Student Universal Support Ireland grant application of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 5; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30726/13]

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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 12th June, 2013. SUSI also confirmed that they are awaiting an invoice from the applicant's college for the fees.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (299)

Willie Penrose

Question:

299. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action he will take to have a young person (details supplied) in County Westmeath assessed immediately by a clinical psychologist in view of the fact that the person is now in an early intervention unit for autism and it has been indicated that the person requires urgent diagnosis and continuous therapy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30743/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the National Council for Special Education (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 resource teachers and 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 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.

All primary and post primary schools also have access to support and guidance from the National Educational Psychological Services (NEPS) and have access to psychological assessments either directly through the assigned NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for Commissioning Psychological Assessments (SCPA) that is administered by NEPS and which supports the cost of assessments provided by a panel of private practitioners. The school concerned may wish to seek guidance from their assigned NEPS psychologist regarding this matter. I also wish to clarify for the Deputy that the responsibility for the recruitment and deployment of health professionals along with the provision of therapy supports is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (300)

Seán Kyne

Question:

300. Deputy Seán Kyne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the Student Universal Support Ireland appeals process takes up to six weeks; and the reason a person (details supplied) has been required to confirm his or her nationality and residency, on multiple occasions, when the said person has never resided outside of this jurisdiction. [30818/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I understand that the student referred to by the Deputy has lodged an appeal with the independent Student Grant Appeals Board. The case is currently listed for hearing on 9th July 2013 and the student will be informed of the decision of the Appeals Board shortly thereafter.