Questions Nos. 135 and 136 answered with Question No. 119.

Bullying in Schools

Questions (137)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

137. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total number of incidents of school bullying including cyber bullying reported to his Department through the primary and or post-primary sectors in each of the past three years to date; the extent to which it has been found possible to address the issue to date; his plans for the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32520/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is not available in my Department as individual school management authorities are not required to report incidents of bullying to my Department. As the Deputy is probably aware, on 29th of January last, Minister Fitzgerald and I published the Action Plan on Bullying which sets out twelve actions to help prevent and tackle bullying in primary and second level schools. As part of the Action Plan, new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and second level schools are currently in development in consultation with the education partners. These new procedures will include a specific reference to cyber bullying and to requirements for noting and reporting bullying incidents. These will be issued to all schools at the beginning of the next school year.

Third Level Participation

Questions (138)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

138. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students known to have dropped out of third level education in each of the past three years to date for whatever reason; his plans to tackle this issue in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32521/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The most recent report by the HEA entitled 'A study of Progression in Higher Education' is available on the HEA website. The following table from the report illustrates the non-presence rates of new entrants in their second year of study by sector, NFQ level and course duration. New entrants are classified as 'not present' if they do not appear in the statistical returns of that institution in the following academic year. The proportion of new entrants in 2007/08 who were not present one year later was 15% on average across all sectors and NFQ Levels. Prior educational attainment is a very significant factor. The HEA is currently in the process of working on an analysis of retention rates in the universities and institutes of technology. This has only recently become possible due to a full population of SRS (Student Record System) data becoming available for a period spanning five years. The HEA which is responsible for the collection of data on student progression does not have information for the current academic year, however it is currently collating data for the 2010/11 academic year and it is hoped that this data will be available in the autumn. Higher education institutions have a wide range of supports in place to improve retention of students in their institutions. The HEA study and other research has also highlighted that undergraduate first years are most at risk of non-progression. The new National Forum for the enhancement of Teaching and Learning that I established late last year is looking at the undergraduate student experience in first year and how that may be improved on a system wide basis. Their work should improve quality outcomes for students at that difficult transition period. The work of the Transition reform group chaired by the Secretary General of my Department should also contribute to improvements in students' quality outcomes. A key commitment has been made by the higher education institutions to reduce the number of level 8 programmes offered through the CAO and broadening them. This should help school leavers better navigate the entry routes into higher education system when making the important choice about what programme to undertake. They will also be exposed to a broader first year experience. This change when implemented should help to reduce the number of school leavers making the wrong choice about what course of study to undertake and help to reduce non-progression and completion.

Non-Presence Rates for New Entrants by Sector and NFQ Level (2008/09).

Sector

Level

Most Common Points Attained

% Not Present

-

Level 6

250–300

25%

-

Level 7

250–300

26%

-

Level 8

300–350

16%

-

L8 3 yr duration

300–350

16%

-

L8 4 yr duration

300–350

16%

-

L8 4+ yr duration

450–500

10%

Institutes of Technology

All New Entrants

300–350

22%

-

Level 8

400–450

9%

-

L8 3 yr duration

350–400

10%

-

L8 4 yr duration

450–500

9%

Universities

L8 4+ yr duration

550–600

3%

-

Level 8

450–500

4%

-

L8 3 yr duration

450–500

2%

Other Colleges

L8 4 yr duration

400–450

7%

All Institutions

Level 8

350–400

11%

All Institutions

All New Entrants

350–400

15%

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (139)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

139. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs assistant will be assigned to a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32523/13]

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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 schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of resource teachers and Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) to schools. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. SNA allocations are made to schools by the NCSE annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support each year. All schools were advised to apply to the NCSE for resource teaching and SNA support for the 2013/14 school year by 15th March 2013. Details of the SNA allocations which have been made to schools by the NCSE for the 2013/2014 school year are now available on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie, which provides details of the SNA allocations for each school on a school by school and per county basis. Where schools have enrolled children who were not considered at the time that these allocations were made, or where schools are seeking a revision to the quantum of SNA support which has been allocated to them for the coming school year, they should contact the NCSE regarding this matter. In general a revision to SNA allocations will only be made in circumstances where schools have enrolled new pupils, or where schools can demonstrate that they do not have sufficient SNA posts to cater for the care needs of all of the qualifying children in their school. 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 Transport Provision

Questions (140)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

140. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a reply will issue to representations made by this Deputy on behalf of a person (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32525/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Due to the increased volume of administration work in relation to school transport provision generally, regrettably, it was not possible to deal with all representations. Under the terms of my Department's Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for transport where they reside not less than 3.2 kms from and are attending their nearest national school as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language. Bus Éireann is responsible for the planning and timetabling of school transport routes. Bus Éireann endeavours, within available resources, to ensure that each eligible child has a reasonable level of school transport service in the context of the Scheme nationally. Where practicable, and subject to considerations of cost and logistics, routes are planned to avoid an eligible child having to travel more than 2.4 kms to or from a pick up/set down point. Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question can avail of a level of service within these guidelines. Parents are responsible for ensuring that children are brought safely to and collected safely from Bus Éireann designated pick up and set down points.

Third Level Participation

Questions (141)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

141. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if it is possible for a person to participate in the DARE programme in a given academic year if their application is held up beyond the closing date for reasons beyond their control; his views that adding an extra year’s wait to students in this situation represents a significant additional stress; his plans to change the applications process to allow for such complexities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32535/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a third-level admissions scheme for students with a disability. The scheme is operated by a number of higher education institutions and not by my Department. Admissions to the institutions are regulated by the institutions themselves. The Deputy may wish to contact the Irish Universities Association in this instance. Further details in relation to the DARE scheme are also available at www.accesscollege.ie.