Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Questions (210)

Pat Breen

Question:

210. Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Education and Skills if assistance will be provided to a school (details supplied) in County Clare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15011/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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 appeal criteria are published in Circular 0007/2014. The school referred to by the Deputy is a 2-teacher school. The enrolment at 30 September, 2013 was 16 pupils which entitles the school to one classroom teacher for the coming school year. The school is projecting an enrolment of 13 pupils for 30 September, 2014. The school submitted an appeal to the February, 2014 meeting of the Primary Staffing Appeals Board under the small school criterion, seeking the retention of its second classroom post for the 2014/15 school year based on the projected enrolment of 13 pupils at 30 September, 2014. A projected enrolment of at least 20 pupils at 30 September 2014 would be required for the school to remain as a 2-teacher school. Given that it projected just 13 pupils the appeal was deemed ineligible for consideration by the board on the basis that the grounds of the appeal did not meet with the appeal criteria. The Board of Management of the school has been notified of this decision. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decision is final. If other pupils decide to enrol in the school and its projected enrolment in September 2014 increases to the required 20 pupils then it can submit a new appeal to the Appeals Board.

My Department does not allocate classroom assistants to schools. The Government recognises that small schools are an important part of the social fabric of rural communities. They will continue to be a feature of our education landscape. However, in these extremely challenging times, all public servants are being asked to deliver our public services on a reduced level of resources and teachers in small schools cannot be immune from this requirement.