School Funding

Questions (83)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

83. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the projected costs in 2013-2014 for the Exchequer to run and maintain Kilkenny College based on enrolment figures for the academic year 2012-2013 and the cost to the Exchequer in respect of financial support offered to Kilkenny College in 2012-2013 while it was a fee charging school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35580/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested by the Deputy for the 2012/13 school year to date is outlined in the attached document. The precise capitation to be paid to the College in the 2013/14 school year will be a function later this year of the actual enrolment in the College and any decisions the Government may take in respect of the next budget.Budget 2012 provided for a further reduction in capitation and related grants of 1% in 2014. On that basis, an indicative estimate based on current rates, of the capitation to be paid to the college in 2013/14 is €409,000. The salary cost for teachers in any school is a function of the number of teachers permanent or part time, the particular point on the salary scale of each teacher, any individual allowances payable to the teachers. Substitution costs that arise over the course of the year also contribute to the overall pay costs. My officials will provide the Deputy with the projected salary costs for the school in question for the school year 2013/14 when they are in a position to compute same in the early Autumn, based on returns that will be received from the school when the new school year commences.

Sch No

Gross Teachers salaries

Gross SNA's salaries

Gross C.O's salaries

61570M

€2,433,449.00

€42,168.01

€37,809.47

Capitation paid in respect of  Kilkenny College  R.N. 61570M from Sept 2012 to 30 June 2013

Payment date

Description

Amount paid

18-Apr-2013

SSSF CARETAKER GRANT

€4,200.00

18-Apr-2013

CARETAKER GRANT

€7,000.00

18-Apr-2013

SCHOOL SERVICES SUPPORT FUND

€102,242.00

18-Apr-2013

CAPITATION GRANT

€155,652.00

24-Jun-2013

PHYSICS AND CHEMISTRY GRANT

€1,261.00

Total Paid to June 2013

€270,355.00

English Language Training Organisations

Questions (84)

Simon Harris

Question:

84. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills when will Quality and Qualifications Ireland be in a position to inspect and approve language schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35595/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

ACELS (Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services) is the body responsible for the development and management of an inspection/ recognition scheme for English Language Teaching organisations (ELTOs) within Ireland. The non-statutory functions of ACELS were previously part of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). The NQAI was merged, along with HETAC and FETAC, into Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) in November 2012. In order to prepare for the amalgamation of these three agencies into QQI, and the reassignment of resources across the new organisation, it was necessary to suspend any new applications to ACELS from September 1st 2012. Since its establishment, QQI has published a number of green papers, including one on the development of the International Education Mark (IEM). The objective of the IEM, which is provided for in the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (Education and Training) Act, 2012, is to contribute, as part of a quality framework, to the promotion of Ireland as a destination for international students. It is intended that new ELTOs who wish to use the IEM will have to first prove compliance with a Code of Practice that encompasses areas such as arrangements for the protection of learners, the collection of fees from enrolled learners, and requirements relating to tax compliance of providers. There will also be a process of transition to the IEM for ELTOs that were previously recognised by ACELS. The deadline for submissions on the IEM green paper is 13 September 2013. It was initially intended to suspend the acceptance of applications to ACELS pending the development and introduction of the IEM. However, QQI is currently reviewing this decision due to the interest that has been expressed in gaining ACELS recognition. Any changes in the current position will be notified to providers through the ACELS and QQI websites.

Teacher Recruitment

Questions (85)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

85. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify that when he says the recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012) and that the deployment of teaching staff in the school, the range of subjects offered and ultimately the quality of teaching and learning are, in the first instance, a matter for the school management authorities he is confirming that a principal of a post-primary school and its board of management have the discretion, under the existing DES procedures, to give resource hours to a mainstream teacher instead of a resource teacher. [35603/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to confirm for the Deputy that the responsibility for day to day management of schools is at local school level. Responsibility for the recruitment and selection of school personnel rests with the Board of Management. If the Board of Management of a school decides to engage a person the Board must ensure that appropriate selection procedures have been followed and that the person is suitably qualified to undertake the duties concerned. In this regard, good practice involves the checking of recent employment records, qualifications, experience and names of referees. In relation to Garda vetting, all schools are also required to comply with the vetting arrangements as set out in my Department's Circular 0063/2010.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (86)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

86. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the current status of a special needs assistant application for a child (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35606/13]

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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.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support each year. The deployment of SNAs within schools is a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised. 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.

Research Funding

Questions (87)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

87. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has written to any of the research funding agencies under the aegis of his Department concerning the progress of any individual application for funding; and if he has guidelines in place for such circumstances. [35607/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Irish Research Council (IRC), which is funded by my Department, has a broad remit to support and enhance human capital development, in particular at postgraduate and early stage postdoctoral researcher levels, and encourage independent exploratory research. Selection is on the basis of excellence following assessment by expert independent panels, whose membership is primarily international. The awards are made by the Council and neither my Department or I have any role in any stage of the selection process. The IRC has in place a robust and transparent assessment protocol based on international best practice and does not enter into correspondence in relation to individual applications. A detailed description of the application process and criteria for the various schemes is published on their website – www.research.ie.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (88)

Joe Higgins

Question:

88. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 163 of 7 May 2013 and correspondence to this Deputy, his views on the case of a person (details supplied) who has been denied free fees on the basis that the springboard foundation course they completed was itself a major award [35608/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Article 13(6) is the relevant article in the 2012 student grant scheme providing for second chance students. The intention of this article is to focus resources on second chance and mature students. The five years break in studies will ensure that the emphasis is, as intended, on facilitating these students to return to education. I understand from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) that the student referred to by the Deputy pursued an approved post leaving certificate course leading to a major education and training award and as a result is ineligible to be accessed as a second chance student. The student was issued with a decision by SUSI on 12th April, 2013. The student in question will be issued a letter clarifying the position with regard to her fees.

English Language Training Organisations

Questions (89)

Simon Harris

Question:

89. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the action open to any schools seeking accreditation and consideration to be included on the list of recognised schools used by INIS until such a time as Quality and Qualification Ireland is in a position to inspect and approve language schools; if such schools with EDI approval can be treated on the same basis as QQI approved schools as an interim measure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35609/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Internationalisation Register is administered by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) on behalf of my Department and the Department of Justice and Equality. The criteria for inclusion of programmes in the Internationalisation Register were determined by these three bodies and are consistent with the immigration regime. Further information on the Internationalisation Register is available at www.intregister.ie. It is currently open to educational institutions, who wish to recruit non EEA students, to submit an application to QQI for inclusion in the next update of the Internationalisation register which will take place on 1st December 2013. The deadline for receipt of applications for this update is 1st November 2013.

The tuition hours required for English Language programmes to be included in the Internationalisation Register is 375 hours. Particular awards made by EDI do not meet this criteria on their own merit. Within the UK, 'guided learning hours' (GLH) are used as a measure of the time that a typical learner will require in direct guidance to complete their programme of learning successfully. The GLH are agreed between the relevant awarding body and its regulatory body. Where there is a difference of more than 10% between the recommended GLH and the number of hours contained in an application for inclusion in the Internationalisation Register, a rationale and support from the awarding body is required to indicate that the increased GLH is appropriate to the programme leading to the award in question. A general statement by an awarding body on the nature of GLH does not constitute a satisfactory rationale or endorsement of the proposed tuition hours.

Furthermore, each EDI programme leads to a discrete and separate award, which is included at a separate level on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) in the UK, and as such is assessed independently on its own merits for inclusion in the Internationalisation Register. In contrast, ACELS-recognised schools offer a series of English-language courses which culminate in a final proficiency exam. The courses are not free-standing in the manner that EDI awards are, i.e. learners do not receive an award at any point prior to the taking of the final proficiency exam at the end of their period of study. These programmes meet the duration criteria for the Internationalisation Register on their own merit.

It is important for the satisfactory operation of the immigration regime in this country that only applications that satisfy the published criteria established by my Department, in conjunction with the Department of Justice and Equality and QQI, will be considered for inclusion in the International Register.

Departmental Contracts

Questions (90)

Ciara Conway

Question:

90. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will list, in tabular form, the names of the companies, where they are headquartered, and value of contracts awarded to all entities involved in the construction of school building projects in Tramore, County Waterford in the past four years; the efforts that were made to provide employment for local trades people and-or companies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35709/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Contracts for two major school building projects in Tramore have been awarded in the last four years. The details of the tenders awarded are as follows:

1. Holy Cross Primary School, the contract for which was awarded to BAM Building Ltd, Kill, Co Kildare;

2. Ardscoil na Mara Post Primary School, one of eight schools in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Schools Bundle;

3 Project, the contract for which was awarded to BAM Construction Ltd, Kill, Co Kildare.

In common with the rest of the Public Sector, capital works projects in schools are tendered under the standard Public Works Contracts as required by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC). The guidelines require a competitive process to be carried out in an open, objective and transparent manner to achieve best value for money in public procurement. School building projects are tendered in compliance with these guidelines and requirements. Similar guidelines and requirements applied to the award of the PPP Schools Bundle 3 Project in November 2012.

While the current public works contract do not require contractors to use local labour or materials, it is the case that building projects by their nature generally contribute to economic activity in the locality in which they are carried out. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Government Construction Contracts Committee are currently considering the possibility of inclusion of social clauses in future public works contracts. My Department will implement any future changes to public works contracts in accordance with the guidelines given.

Regarding contracts awarded to all entities involved in the construction of the school, the situation is that in general all sub-contractors employed on school building projects are employed directly by the Main Contractor or indirectly by the Main Contractor through other sub-contractors. There is no contractual relationship between the Department or the Client with any domestic subcontractors or suppliers engaged on the projects and therefore the Department does not hold details of any contracts other than that with the main contractor.

School Accommodation

Questions (91)

Ciara Conway

Question:

91. Deputy Ciara Conway asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a full update on what efforts are being made to upgrade the accommodation at a school (details supplied) in County Waterford; if he has given due regard to the savings to his Department if a permanent building were put in place rather than the wasted expenditure incurred due to the current situation; when he expects this situation to be satisfactorily resolved and if he will provide an update on the matter. [35710/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that my Department's over-riding objective is to ensure that every child has access to a physical school place and that our school system is in a position to cope with increasing pupil numbers. To ensure that this is achieved, the delivery of major school projects to meet future significant demographic demands nationally, particularly in those areas where it has been identified that most demographic growth will be concentrated, will be the main focus for capital investment over the duration of the 5 Year Plan. As the school referred to by Deputy is in an area of Co Waterford that has not been identified as an area of significant demographic growth, the project for the school concerned was not included in the 5 Year Plan.

The school building project referred to by the Deputy is at an early stage of Architectural Planning. The school and its design team recently attended a Stage 2(a) Stakeholders meeting with the Planning & Building Unit of my Department. My Department recently conducted a survey of schools within the Tramore area to establish the demand for diversity and plurality in the area. In this regard, the Department is engaged in a process with the relevant school patrons regarding the arrangements to meet the outcome of the survey. My Department will be in further contact with the school regarding the status of its building project when this process has been advanced.

Student Grant Scheme Administration

Questions (92)

Michael Ring

Question:

92. Deputy Michael Ring asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a final decision will issue on the Student Universal Support Ireland grant application by a person (details supplied) considering that correspondence to SUSI in this case has not been responded to; and if he will make a full and final reply on the matter. [35634/13]

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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 letter on 26th April 2013 advising her that her application had been cancelled due to incomplete documentation being received. SUSI have confirmed that this applicant has not appealed the decision. Where an individual applicant considers that she has been unjustly refused a student grant, or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she 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.