Student Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (110)

Colm Keaveney

Question:

110. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) may expect a response to their appeal to Student Universal Support Ireland; if he will resolve the issue whereby SUSI has issued this individual with two reference numbers; if he will clarify which one they should use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32412/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the correct reference number is W121310133413 in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, and that his student grant application was further appealed to the appeals officer in SUSI on 1 July 2013. On that basis, the application is currently being reviewed and the student will be notified directly by SUSI of the outcome. Where an appeal is turned down in writing by SUSI and the applicant remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his or her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.

School Enrolments

Questions (111)

Peter Mathews

Question:

111. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps being taken to secure a school place in respect of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 24; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32413/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the enrolment of a child in a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

The policy of my Department is to secure the maximum possible level of inclusion of students with special educational needs in mainstream primary and post-primary schools, in order to ensure that as many children as possible can be educated with their peers within their own community. My Department therefore provides for a range of placement options and supports for schools which have enrolled pupils with special educational needs in order to ensure that, wherever a child is enrolled, s/he will have access to an appropriate education. Children with special educational needs may be enrolled in a mainstream school and attend all mainstream classes and receive additional teaching support through the learning support and/or resource teacher. Or they may enrol in a mainstream school and attend a special class, or they may enrol in a special school. The National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) is the statutory agency which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The NEWB will try to help parents to find a school placement if their child has been unable to secure a school placement to date. The NEWB can be contacted at National Educational Welfare Board, National Headquarters, 16-22 Green Street, Dublin 7 or by telephone at 01-8738700. In addition, the National Council for Special Education's (NCSE) Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) can assist parents to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs. Parents may contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs and to seek assistance in identifying placement options, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie. Where a school refuses to enrol a pupil, the school is obliged to inform parents of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Only where an appeal under Section 29 is upheld, may the Secretary General of my Department direct a school to enrol a pupil.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 109.

Questions (112)

Seán Fleming

Question:

112. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a third level higher education grant application for 2012-13 will be processed in respect of a person (details supplied) as a dependent student, in view of the fact that they were deemed not an independent student at the time of application; when the parents' means will be taken into account and the grant approved in view of the urgency of the case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32415/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the applicant referred to by the Deputy was issued with a decision on 13 May 2013 advising her that she was deemed ineligible to receive a grant. If an individual applicant considers that she/he has been unjustly refused a student grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to SUSI. Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down, in writing, by SUSI, and remains of the view that SUSI has not interpreted the scheme correctly in his/her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the Student Grant Appeals Board. The relevant appeal form will be available on request from SUSI.

Question No. 113 answered with Question No. 109.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

Questions (114, 118)

Eric J. Byrne

Question:

114. Deputy Eric Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify a situation regarding special needs assistants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32433/13]

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Billy Timmins

Question:

118. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding special needs assistants (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32501/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 118 together. I wish to advise the Deputy that the level of resources being devoted to supporting children with Special Educational Needs has been maintained at €1.3 billion this year. This includes provision for 10,575 Special Needs Assistants (SNAs). These resources have been protected despite the ongoing severe financial position and a requirement to make expenditure savings across a range of areas. There has been no reduction to the overall number of SNA posts being provided for schools for the coming school year. This provision remains at 10,575 posts, which will ensure that all children who qualify for access to SNA support for the coming school year will receive access to such support. The demand for SNAs for the 2013/2104 school year currently stands at over 10,490 leaving over 80 posts available for late demand. Some additional posts are also likely to be freed up during the year due to children not enrolling to schools or diminishing care needs. The NCSE will allocate the remaining SNAs to schools during the year, as required, based on the care needs of qualifying children. In relation to the July Provision scheme I wish to clarify 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 can 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 Grant Scheme Appeals

Questions (115)

Tom Fleming

Question:

115. Deputy Tom Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine a student grant appeal in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32435/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials in my Department have confirmed with Student Universal Support Ireland that in the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, her student grant application was appealed to the appeals officer in SUSI on 12 June 2013. On that basis, the application is currently being reviewed and the student will be notified directly by SUSI of the outcome. Where an appeal is turned down in writing by SUSI and the applicant remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his or her case, an appeal form outlining the position may be submitted by the applicant to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board.

School Accommodation

Questions (116)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

116. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow is being asked for a financial contribution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32451/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I thank the Minister of State. I am aware of the support of the Minister, Deputy Varadkar, because we have spoken about this on a number of occasions. In fact, in anticipation of either primary or secondary legislation coming before the House this year, in November last year I called on Dublin City Council to initiate the public consultation for the new by-laws that will be needed. Dublin City Council, therefore, is already working to make sure it is ready to go when the secondary legislation has been published. I hope the Department of Transport is talking to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government on the important issues the Minister of State pointed out, and that they are both talking to Dublin City Council. It should not take us to raise them here by way of the Topical Issue Debate to spur on greater efforts. It is a very simple proposal but one that could deliver a big win for the people of Dublin. I look forward to the secondary legislation coming in as soon as possible.