Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Questions (158)

Pat Deering

Question:

158. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to correct the current imbalance in general allocation model, English as an additional language, GAM-EAL, support, based on gender, where the allocation of support is 25% higher in all boys and co-educational schools than in all girls schools and where there is an even higher allocation to Gaelscoileanna generally even through they have very few EAL pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41395/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy is referring to resources allocated to schools under the General Allocation Model (GAM) of additional teaching supports, which are allocated to all Primary schools to cater for children with high incidence special educational needs. I wish to advise the Deputy that differing pupil teacher ratios are applied under the GAM in relation to boys, girls and mixed schools in order to account for differentials of prevalence of learning difficulty between boys and girls. The objective of this differentiation is to ensure that resources provided to schools to support children who have additional learning needs are targeted to ensure that those children most in need benefit from these resources. The rationale for the differing ratios is based on international literature on the incidence of disability as well as international and national surveys of literacy and numeracy which indicate that there is a greater incidence of disability/learning difficulty in boys than girls. The NCSE Report on the Implementation of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act, of 2006, also examined a range of sources to establish prevalence rates, including national databases, local and international studies and expert estimates, which indicated significantly higher rates of Mild General Learning Difficulty and Specific Learning Disability prevailing in boys, in comparison to girls.

Resources are allocated to Gaelscoileanna on the same basis as to ordinary national schools, based on the number of classroom teaching posts in each school in the previous school year. There is no additional allocation mechanism for Gaelscoileanna in this regard. The criteria for the allocation of GAM hours is outlined in Circular 13/2013, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie.