Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (121, 122, 123, 124)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

121. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he expects to facilitate dialogue with the authorities in catholic and protestant fee-paying schools with a view to addressing concerns they may have arising from fears of capitation reduction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32504/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

122. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has received communication from the authorities in catholic or protestant or fee-paying schools who are concerned with suggestions regarding possible reduction in capitation grants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32505/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

123. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if arising from any discussions he has had with representatives of fee-paying schools, it has been found possible to address issues of mutual concern; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32506/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

124. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will facilitate meetings with representatives of catholic and protestant fee-paying schools with a view to reaching agreement on issues of mutual concern; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32507/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 to 124, inclusive, together. I met in recent days with the Joint Managerial Body and representatives of fee charging schools. The meeting afforded them an opportunity to articulate their views on a range of issues concerning their schools.

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 the Department will engage constructively with any fee charging school that is considering how best to secure its future. Any approach to the 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.

I wish to inform the Deputy that fee charging schools do not receive any capitation or related grants from the Department. 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 the Department in planning for their future.