Institutes of Technology Issues

Questions (155)

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin

Question:

155. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the significant contribution of money that has been paid by the Roman Catholic Church to the Dublin Institute of Technology Foundation for the maintenance of an active church, as distinct from a multi-faith centre, on the new DIT Grangegorman site and, if so, if he will detail all of the conditions attached to this donation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41320/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

DIT and the DIT Foundation have a target to raise €30m through philanthropy to support the redevelopment of listed buildings on the Grangegorman site and to target the provision of facilities that otherwise have no immediate source of funding. DIT approached the Dublin Catholic Archdiocese with a request to seek a contribution through philanthropy towards the restoration of the Church on the site. The Church is a listed building in need of substantial repair. The Catholic Archdiocese agreed to contribute €0.5m towards a fabric upgrade subject to the works progressing. The Church will be retained as a place of multi-denominational worship with a commitment of at least 25 years. The upgrade will create a multi-use space that will be available from September 2014 for educational, pastoral and cultural uses while respecting its liturgical requirements. In keeping with existing practice across DIT sites students and staff will have access to a multi-faith centre that will be located on campus from September 2014. Ownership of the Church will pass to DIT on completion of refurbishment. The initial expenditure will enable DIT to stabilise the fabric of the building while creating a much needed multi-use space. Further upgrades will again be undertaken through philanthropy.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (156)

Joe Higgins

Question:

156. Deputy Joe Higgins asked the Minister for Education and Skills of those special needs assistants who have recently been made redundant, the number on the panel established by his Department. [41369/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The detailed arrangements regarding supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs for the 2013/2014 school year are set out in Departmental Circular 0037/2013 which issued on 1 July 2013 and which is available on the Department's website at the following address: http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0037_2013.pdf.

With effect from 1 May 2013 once an SNA with a minimum of one year's service is notified by his/her employer that he/she is to be made redundant then he/she shall be deemed to be a member of a Supplementary Assignment Panel for SNAs. With the exception of SNAs who have been re-employed on permanent contracts or have chosen to opt out of the panel in accordance with the terms of Paragraph 39 of the circular, all SNAs who have been made redundant since 1 May 2013 are members of the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel.

For the 2013/2014 school year a list of SNAs who have been deemed to be members of the Supplementary Assignment Panel will not be made or kept by the Department of Education and Skills. The operation of this panel is as described and outlined in Circular 0037/2013. This enables all eligible SNAs, who have the requisite SUPPLEMENTARY ASSIGNMENT PANEL FORM 2013/2014 completed by their former employer, to apply for any SNA position that is advertised by a school or an ETB with no geographical limitations imposed. The Department has set up a dedicated e-mail address to deal with all queries in relation to the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel and any queries in respect of the operation of the Panel can be directed to this dedicated e-mail address snasupplementpanel@education.gov.ie.

Teaching Council of Ireland

Questions (157)

Olivia Mitchell

Question:

157. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the pay of a person (details supplied) whose membership of the Teaching Council lapsed over the summer due to a change of address, will be restored to include payment from the start of the teaching year after Garda vetting is processed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41380/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The person referred to by the Deputy continues to receive salary from my Department. Queries regarding Garda vetting and teacher registration are a matter for the Teaching Council. The teacher in question should contact the Teaching Council in regard to those issues.

Special Educational Needs Services Provision

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.

School Staffing

Questions (159)

Kevin Humphreys

Question:

159. Deputy Kevin Humphreys asked the Minister for Education and Skills the circumstances in which academic staff are permitted to return to paid teaching duties following retirement; the oversight mechanism there is; if these staff continue to draw their occupational pension while being employed on the double; the number of these academics who are teaching in their paid retirement; the length of time they may continue to do this; if there is a quarterly mechanism to oversee such numbers and to what section of the Oireachtas does oversight fall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41400/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The policy of my Department is to ensure, as far as possible, that the Managerial Authorities of schools give priority to unemployed registered teachers who are fully qualified when filling vacant teaching posts. Thus my Department has issued a number of circulars addressing this issue in recent years. Under these circulars school Principal's must maintain a list of unemployed registered teachers and report to the Board of Management on any exceptional occasion where they have to engage a registered teacher who is retired. Circular 31/2011 details a cascade of measures for recruitment of teachers, prioritising registered teachers over retired registered teachers and unregistered people.

A retired teacher who returns to teaching on or after 1 February 2012 will commence at the first point of the incremental salary scale. Incremental credit for service prior to 1 February 2012, qualification allowances and certain job role allowances are also not payable. This measure represents a significant financial disincentive for teachers who retired at the top of their salary scale, often with a post of responsibility allowance, to return to teaching. The first point of the teacher's salary scale represents the lowest point or starting salary for teachers. Thus it was decided that retired teachers would be placed at that point of the scale.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (160)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

160. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the new location of a school (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41415/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers is among a range of schools earmarked for delivery through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) process. The PPP process forms a central part of the Government's overall economic stimulus package. This specific school was identified for inclusion in the PPP process in May 2013. It is expected that procurement of the bundle of schools to which this school belongs shall begin later this year. Construction of the overall bundle is provisionally scheduled to commence in 2015. Completion of construction should occur in 2016/2017.

Schools Building Projects Status

Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 148.

Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 144.

Questions (161)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

161. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the new location of a school building project (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41416/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has been working closely with Meath County Council in relation to identifying and acquiring a suitable site for the development to which he has referred. A suitable site has been identified and negotiations are ongoing. Due to commercial sensitivities attaching to site acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to comment further on this matter at this time.

Question No. 162 answered with Question No. 148.
Question No. 163 answered with Question No. 144.