Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Questions (91)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

91. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a structure will be put in place to facilitate immediate action in partnership with Pobal and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to ensure adequate funding for island preschools; if the Department has comprehensive island-specific policies on student and teacher ratios at the three levels of schooling (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42775/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, the vast majority of support for child care, including preschool education, is not provided by my Department, but is provided by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Funding for island preschools is a matter for that Department.

In my Department, teacher allocations at primary and post-primary level are approved annually in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The staffing arrangements at primary level include provision for island schools to retain the second or third classroom teaching post where the school is the only primary school remaining on the island. This provision means that such posts are retained on a lower pupil threshold than what applies in all other primary schools. The staffing arrangements at post-primary level include an additional teaching post for island schools.

The detailed staffing arrangements for schools, including island schools, are in the public domain and are published on my Department's website.