Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Questions (89)

Pat Breen

Question:

89. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding emergency funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32336/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Following receipt of an application from the school authority I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department recently approved funding under the Emergency Works Scheme. The school authority has been informed of this decision.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (90)

Michael McCarthy

Question:

90. Deputy Michael McCarthy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans for an ASD unit, English speaking, for primary school children in the west Cork area. [32363/13]

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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 the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. SENOs are a valuable source of support to parents who are actively sourcing a placement for their children. Furthermore the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which assists parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years. I have arranged for the matter raised by the Deputy to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (91)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

91. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an appeal made to Student Universal Support Ireland in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Limerick; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32369/13]

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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 was issued with a new award letter on 28th June 2013, following a decision by the SUSI Appeals Officer. If the student is unhappy with the decision of the Appeals Officer, or is of the opinion that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she may appeal to the Student Grants Appeals Board. The relevant appeal form will be available on request from SUSI.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (92)

Martin Ferris

Question:

92. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants who will be allocated to primary and secondary schools in County Kerry from September 2013; the comparable figures for 2011 and 2012; if he will provide a detailed breakdown of the number of special needs assistants per school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32374/13]

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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 primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports including resource teaching and Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support as well as the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support. Details of the resource teaching and SNA allocations which have been made to schools by the NCSE for the 2012/2013 and 2013/14 school years are available on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie and can be viewed on a per county basis. The resource allocation statistics detail all of the SNA allocations by school in County Kerry for these years. The NCSE has advised my Department that they allocated 325 SNA posts to schools in County Kerry for the 2011/2012 school year. The number of posts available to the NCSE for allocation this year has been maintained at 10,575 posts and there has been no reduction to the overall number of posts available for allocation. The allocation that is made to schools annually is based on the number of valid applications received. Where a school enrols new pupils who have care needs in advance or during the school year, schools may apply to the NCSE for additional SNA support or for a review of their SNA allocation. 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.

School Accommodation

Questions (93)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

93. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has received the application for capital funding in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Limerick requesting urgent repair of the school facilities; if he will fast-track the application in view of the fact that the architect's report has found the school building to be dangerous; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32376/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has been in contact with the school, referred to by the Deputy, and approved the preparation of the report concerned into the school's accommodation issues. This report has now been received and my Department will be in further contact with the school authorities when this report has been assessed.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (94, 95)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

94. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of hours a permanent special needs assistant in a primary school is required to work on a weekly basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32377/13]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

95. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills whether the total number of hours a permanent special needs assistant in a primary school works is inclusive or exclusive of tea breaks and lunch breaks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32379/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 95 together. The working week for SNAs is defined in their contract (Department of Education and Skills Circular 15/05). SNAs are required to work normal classroom hours including class break periods and in addition to attend before and after school in order to help with the preparation and tidying up of classrooms, reception and dispersal of children etc. The exact hours of work will normally be specified by the Board of Management in the SNAs contract of employment. Full-time SNAs are required to work for the normal school hours in the school that they are working in, and in addition to be available for a period of time before and after school in order to help with reception and dispersal of children and preparation and tidying up of classrooms etc. These times are outlined locally by the school management and will vary from school to school depending on the requirements of the school. Furthermore, all SNAs were required to be available for a number of days at the start and finish of each school term not exceeding 12 in total. Under the Croke Park Agreement it was agreed to introduce greater flexibility to the use of these 12 days. These 12 days will now equate to 72 hours (pro-rata for part-time SNAs) to be used by schools as an additional bank of hours to be utilised and delivered outside of normal school opening hours and/or the normal school year. In terms of breaks staff are entitled to statutory minimum break periods as set out in the Organisation of Working Time Act.