121. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a post-primary school amalgamation project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11594/14]View answer
Written Answers Nos. 121-140
121. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a post-primary school amalgamation project (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11594/14]View answer
My Department previously acquired significant lands in the Ennistymon area. However, in order to have a site suitable for the development of a building for the new amalgamated school, additional land is required. The Congregation that owns existing school properties in Ennistymon has offered to transfer the properties concerned to the State as part of its offer made in response to the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the Ryan Report). The Government has agreed to accept this and a number of other properties offered by the Congregation. The land in question, together with the lands already in the ownership of the Department, will be sufficient to meet the overall site requirements of the new school.
The Department through the Chief State Solicitor's Office is currently working with the Solicitors acting on behalf of the Congregation concerned on the legal procedures and mechanisms required to facilitate the transfer of this additional land. When the transfer of the property has been completed, my Department will be in a position to further consider how this project could be progressed within the context of the available funding. Such consideration will involve liaison by my Department with the schools concerned.
122. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a person (details supplied) in County Clare will receive a response to an application for incremental credit for teaching service in HSI Limerick Business School; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11651/14]View answer
The scheme for the award of incremental credit is set out in circular letter PPT 29/07. Under its terms incremental credit may be awarded in respect of periods of qualified teaching service given in a third level institution, the institution must be recognised as a provider of courses leading to accredited third level awards.The scheme was agreed at the Teachers' Conciliation Council, comprised of representatives of the teacher unions, school management bodies, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, and my Department, chaired by an official of the Labour Relations Commission. In the case to which the Deputy refers, an application for incremental credit was received in my Department whereupon the applicant was requested to provide further information in relation to the status of the third level institution concerned. On receipt of this information from the applicant my Department will process the application.
123. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details on the location of new schools planned in the Lucan area with a corresponding time frame of when they will be delivered; if his Department are implementing a policy of additionality in preferring new school builds in an area instead of extensions to existing schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11653/14]View answer
A new primary school commenced operation in Lucan in September 2013 under the patronage of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB. It is located in interim start-up accommodation. My Department is currently working with the Local Authority to source a suitable site for permanent accommodation for the school. When a site has been secured consideration can be given to including a project for the school on the Department's capital programme. In addition, a new post-primary school will commence operation in Clonburris in September 2014 under the patronage of the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB in partnership with Educate Together. The provision of a permanent school building at Kishogue's Cross, Clonburris is being managed by the ETB and the project is on my Department's five-year plan to go to construction shortly.
My Department may consider a range of options for providing accommodation to meet demographic demands. This can include providing new schools or expanding existing schools. Factors such as the extent of students needing to be provided for together with the economic and technical feasibility as well as site capacity of existing schools can influence how the demographic need can be catered for.
124. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of Irish citizens whose applications for Student Universal Support Ireland grants were not accepted for 2011-12 and 2012-13 on the basis of not fulfilling the habitual residency condition; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11655/14]View answer
Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) began operating as the single grant awarding authority accepting all new applications for the 2012/13 academic year and officials in my Department have confirmed with SUSI that in the 2012/13 academic year, the number of applications refused was 118.
125. Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed closure of a school and ASD class (details supplied) in Dublin 12; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11671/14]View answer
I can confirm for the Deputy that while my Department is aware of the Patron's proposals to merge the schools concerned, I have not received any proposal from the Patron in the matter. The decision making authority for any school amalgamation belongs to the school's patron and this is subject to the approval of the Minister for Education and Skills.
The initiative for any amalgamation may come from a variety of sources, such as parents, staff, Board of Management and patron(s). Any such proposal to amalgamate schools must first involve consultation with all of the relevant stakeholders. Following the consultation process, a decision taken at local level will follow. In that regard, any proposed changes must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of students, parents, teachers, local communities and contributes to an inclusive education system. The Patron and relevant stakeholders are also advised by the Department to consider the implications that any amalgamation proposal may have on school funding, school staffing and school transport so that an informed decision can be made.
126. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the recent refusal of a higher education grant in the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11681/14]View answer
In the case of the student referred to by the Deputy, I understand that Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) is reviewing his grant application and will be in contact with him shortly.
127. Deputy Olivia Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the actions that could now be taken to provide a permanent school (details supplied) as the preferred site has been refused planning permission for the second time; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11717/14]View answer
My Department is appealing the refusal to grant planning permission for the school in question to An Bord Pleanála.
128. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the level of funding provided by his Department to the NAPD; if schools are allowed to fund their principal's membership of the organisation from voluntary contributions paid by parents to the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11718/14]View answer
The National Association for Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) is a recognised representative body for Principals and Deputy Principals at post-primary level. It is therefore permissible for a school to pay a subscription fee to it from state funds or from another source which may include voluntary contributions paid by parents. The source of funding and the decision to fund a principal's membership of the NAPD is decided at the discretion of the board of management of each individual school.
Funding provided by my Department to the NAPD relates to a non-recoupable secondment in respect of the position of Director and funding in respect of the provision by NAPD of supports, training and seminars for principals and deputy principals, including newly appointed principals and deputy principals. The NAPD works in collaboration with the Professional Development Service for Teachers to provide leadership programmes and continuous professional development opportunities. The funding given to the NAPD supports my Departments national priorities in the areas of Literacy & Numeracy and Leadership for schools. My Department also co funds with the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht an annual grant to fund a specific Creative Arts project run by the NAPD. The total funding paid by my Department in this regard in 2013 was approximately €348,000.
129. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department monitors the way voluntary contributions are spent by schools. [11719/14]View answer
The Education Act 1998 requires that every school, other than a school established or maintained by an Education and Training Board, must keep accounts of monies it receives and of the expenditure of such monies and that such accounts are properly audited or certified in accordance with best accounting practice. The Act provides that such accounts must be made available for inspection by parents. While these provisions concern monies provided by the Oireachtas, schools are not precluded from providing details of other income and expenditure such as that relating to voluntary contributions and in my view it would be good practice for all schools to do so.
130. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the guidelines governing the persons deemed qualified to deliver CPD to teachers. [11720/14]View answer
131. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has considered establishing a register of qualified persons to deliver CPD. [11721/14]View answer
I propose to take Questions Nos. 130 and 131 together.
I have no plans to establish a register of persons qualified to deliver continuing professional development (CPD). In terms of CPD provided by my Department, the general practice is that my Department, through the teacher support services, engages teachers for the provision of CPD on a full time basis through secondment from their schools. These arrangements provide flexibility and ensure that the needs and priorities of the service are met. Given the importance of the teaching experience and expertise required for the role, it is a requirement for teachers to be a) registered with the Teaching Council and b) in a full-time position recognised by my Department in order to be considered eligible for secondment to the support services. The support services recruit as needs arise and these positions are advertised through the national media.
The Deputy might also wish to note that the Teaching Council also has a statutory remit in relation to CPD for teachers. When the relevant section of the Teaching Council Act is commenced, the Council will have a role in reviewing and accrediting programmes of CPD as well as in relation to research on, and promoting the benefits of, CPD.
132. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has identified any schools that have not established an anti-bullying policy; and any action taken. [11722/14]View answer
The Deputy will be aware that last September I published new anti-bullying procedures for all primary and post primary schools. The new procedures and the associated Department Circular 0045/2013 require all schools to formally adopt and implement an anti-bullying policy that fully complies with the requirements of the procedures. The circular required all Boards of Management to immediately commence the necessary arrangements for developing and formally adopting an anti-bullying policy which fully complies with the requirements of these procedures. All schools are expected to complete this as early as possible in the 2013/14 school year but in any event by no later than the end of the second term of the 2013/14 school year i.e by Friday 11th April 2014.
133. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the proposed new school (details supplied) in County Galway; if he will provide information on the location and the start and completion date for the new school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11733/14]View answer
147. Deputy Colm Keaveney asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the funding for a school (details supplied) in County Galway will be released; the details of the location of the school; the start and completion dates for the construction of the school; any factors that may be causing a delay in the commencement of construction of the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11921/14]View answer
I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 147 together.
The school building project referred to by the Deputies has been included on the five-year construction programme for 2015/16. The conveyancing procedures for the proposed site for the new school are underway and pending their conclusion further details cannot be provided owing to commercial sensitivities. My Department will shortly be in contact with the school regarding the further progression of the project.
134. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Education and Skills the plans in place to build much needed secondary schools in the rapidly expanding district of Kilternan-Stepaside-Glencullen and adjoining areas, based on the fact that the council has recommended two sites for possible construction; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11750/14]View answer
I recently announced the provision of a 1,000 pupil post-primary school for the Ballinteer-Stepaside feeder area. This school will commence operation in September 2016. Also, a 500 pupil Gaelcholáiste is opening in September to 2014 to serve this general area. In addition, a new 1,000-pupil school is being established in 2016 in the north Wicklow area. This school is intended to cater for the Kilternan feeder area among others. The Kilternan feeder area encompasses Glencullen. The areas in question will be kept under review to ensure that any further needs are identified and met.
135. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are restrictions on the usage of profits that have been made or may be made in the future from the sale of school premises and lands by religious orders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11764/14]View answer
In the past, the majority of schools in the State were constructed on lands made available by the relevant school Patron. The land was not in the Minister's ownership. As the Deputy may be aware, where significant grant aid is provided by the Department for the development of school premises on property not owned by the State, this investment is secured by way of a charging lease. In circumstances where the property has ceased to be used as a school, the Minister has on occasion received requests to release the Minister's interest secured under the charging lease in the buildings from the relevant school Patron. Generally, an assessment of the need for the property is carried out and where the building concerned is no longer deemed to be required for current or future educational use, the Minister's interest may be released.
The following information was provided under Standing Order 40A
As previously advised, in the past the majority of schools in the State were constructed on lands made available by the relevant school Patron. It is important to emphasize that the land itself was not in the Minister's ownership.
In relation to school properties built on these lands not owned by the State, where significant grant aid is provided by the Department, this investment in the buildings is secured by way of a legal indenture (charging lease or a Declaration of Trust). The purpose of this charging lease is to protect the Minister’s interest in such school buildings.
Where the property ceases to be used as a school, the owner of the property may apply to the Department of Education and Skills for the surrender of the Minister’s interest.
In general most requests received by my Department to release the Minister’s interest refer to cases where either the proposed future use relates to the property being utilised for community or educational purposes or, the proceeds of the sale of the property are being used for community or educational purposes.
Agreement to a request by the owner to release the Minister’s interest in a property removes any future involvement by my Department in the property. Whilst the intended use of proceeds from sales of such properties is taken into account when the Department is considering applications for surrender of the Minister’s interest, the current situation is that the State does not restrict what use registered owners make of the proceeds of sales of their properties, nor what use is made of profits should they arise.
136. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an appeal in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Galway; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11767/14]View answer
The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2014/2015 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0007/2014) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the 30 September 2013. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for consideration at the February meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. The Appeals Board has given provisional approval to the school for the retention of its 4th classroom teaching post for the 2014/15 school year. This decision is conditional on the school achieving the projected 30 September 2014 enrolment figures. The school has been notified to this effect. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.
137. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a staffing appeal in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Roscommon; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11768/14]View answer
The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts for the 2014/2015 school year is set out in the Staffing Schedule (Circular 0007/2014) which is available on the Department website. The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the 30 September 2013. The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit an appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for consideration at the February meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board. The Appeals Board determined that the appeal did not satisfy all of the published criteria as set out in Circular 0007/2014. The school has been notified accordingly. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final.
138. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of teachers who are being asked to work extra days due to having previously missed days due to strike action in order to avail of early retirement. [11770/14]View answer
Public servants (including teachers) make a superannuation contribution for each day of paid employment. A teacher who has reached the age of 55 and has 35 years of reckonable service may retire voluntarily on pension with no actuarial reduction. Unpaid days where no superannuation contribution is made, including in particular the public service-wide strike days of 15 October 1985 and 24 November 2009, are not counted as reckonable service for superannuation purposes. This has been the position for all teachers who were absent because of strike action on either or both of those dates and who retired subsequently, and will continue to be the position in the future.
139. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the requirement for accommodation at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11810/14]View answer
The major building project for the schools referred to by the Deputy is completing stage 2(a) of architectural planning. My Department held the Stage 2(a) Stakeholders meeting recently with the Boards of Management and their Design Team. Following this meeting the Design Team are working on an addendum report in order to clarify a number of points. Upon satisfactory completion of this report, the project will be progressed to Stage 2(b) which includes applications for Planning Permission, Fire Safety Certification, Disability Access Certification and the preparation of tender documents.
Due to competing demands on the Department's capital budget imposed by the need to prioritise the limited funding available for the provision of additional school accommodation to meet increasing demographic requirements it was not possible to include this project in the 5 year construction programme announced in March 2012. School building projects, including the project referred to by the Deputy, which were previously initiated but not included in the current five year construction programme will continue to be progressed to final planning stages in anticipation of the possibility of further funds being available to the Department in the future.
140. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 102 of 27 February 2014, the reason the Professional Development Service for Teachers (Technology in Education) is sanctioning the use and purchase of iPads by students, when a much cheaper and more useful tablet is available on which one can use Microsoft Office Applications and study for ECDL and many other computer courses, unlike the iPad, which is not compatible with the most common applications such as Word and Excel; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11828/14]View answer
The Professional Development Service for Teachers (Technology in Education) does not endorse or promote any product for use in schools. Schools may decide which technology to use to support the implementation of the curriculum. The Professional Development Service for Teachers (Technology in Education) is available to advise schools on how to integrate technology in teaching and learning.