Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Questions (57)

Joe McHugh

Question:

57. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will update Dáil Éireann on his Department's review of submissions that may have been received from organisations which represent minority denominational schools in rural areas; if he will acknowledge the roles that such schools play in the preservation of traditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32013/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Organisations representing minority denominational schools have made submissions to my Department on the effect of changes to the staffing schedule for small primary schools and on the possible outcome of the Value for Money Review of Small Primary Schools. My Department takes account of the concerns expressed. In regard to the staffing schedule, how best to sustain provision for widely dispersed and small Protestant communities does present as a particular challenge especially in any locality where enrolment in their schools is declining to single figures and amalgamation is not an option because there is no other school nearby. The Government is intent on fostering pluralism in school provision. Supporting minority churches in maintaining their schools is part of that policy. In regard to the Value for Money Review, it takes account of the ethos of schools, the locations of small schools relative to other schools of a similar type. I recently received the report of the Review and am currently considering it.