Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (119, 135, 136)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

119. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he has been able to avert any loss of teachers at primary and second level schools throughout the country; the extent to which he is in a position to initiate any alleviating measures in any such cases; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32502/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

135. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which pupil-teacher ratios at primary and second level throughout the country have been kept to the desired levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32518/13]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

136. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which pupil-teacher ratios at primary and second level throughout County Kildare have been kept to the desired levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32519/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 119, 135 and 136 together.

The Statistics section of my Department's website contains information relating to pupil teacher ratio (PTR) at primary and second level. Pupil Teacher Ratio in respect of all schools is only available at national level and not disaggregated by county or any other variable.

Pupil teacher ratios for the 2012/2013 academic year are currently being compiled and will be available during the summer of 2013. Figures for the 2011/2012 academic year are available on the Department's website at http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Statistics/.

The Government has protected frontline services in schools to the greatest extent possible in the recent budget and there will be no reduction in teacher numbers in primary schools and in free second level 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.

Teacher allocations are approved annually in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. My Department has published the staffing arrangements at primary and post primary level for the coming school year 2013/14 which are available on the Department's website. At primary level the staffing schedule includes provision for schools that have significant increases in their enrolment in rapidly developing areas to be allocated classroom teachers based on their projected enrolments for September 2013. The criteria for this are set out in the staffing schedule. Given the constraints on teacher numbers my Department has no capacity to put any other ameliorating measures in place.

At post primary level and in accordance with existing arrangements, where a school management authority is unable to meet its curricular commitments within its approved allocation, my Department considers applications for additional short term support i.e., curricular concessions. The allocation processes at both primary and post primary level also include an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The appeal procedures are set out in the circulars referred to above. The Appeal Boards operate independently of the Department and their decisions are final.

The final staffing position for all schools at primary and post primary level will ultimately not be known until the Autumn. At that stage the allocation process will be fully completed and any appeals to the Staffing Appeal Boards will have been considered.