Departmental Staff Remuneration

Questions (92)

Ciaran Lynch

Question:

92. Deputy Ciarán Lynch asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will confirm that his Department will not pay any non-binding pay recommendations (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15564/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that agreement has been reached under the auspices of the Labour Relations Commission on terms of reference for an internal job evaluation exercise to be carried out within a specified timescale in UCC to establish the correct rate of pay for the employees of all grades within the Tyndall National Institute. In the light of this development it would be inappropriate for my Department to consider the implementation of a Labour Court Recommendation which comprehends any member of staff in the Institute while the job evaluation exercise is proceeding.

EU Funding

Questions (93)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

93. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills Ireland's allocation under the ESF 2014-20 programme. [15571/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Ireland's allocation under the EU cohesion policy for the period 2014-2020 in current prices is €951.643 million. The breakdown between the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund will be decided in the context of the discussion between Ireland and the European Commission on the Partnership Agreement. It is expected that the draft Partnership Agreement will be submitted to the Commission in the coming weeks and by the deadline of 22 April at the latest.

EU Funding

Questions (94)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

94. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills who the contact person and-or agency will be for citizens seeking information on the ESF 2014-20 programme. [15572/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

It is currently intended that the Department of Education and Skills will be the contact Department in respect of the ESF 2014-2020 operational programme. Relevant contact information will be published on both my Department's website and the ESF website (www.esf.ie) once final details regarding the content and allocations in respect of the programme have been decided during 2014.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (95)

Seán Fleming

Question:

95. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be approved and paid in respect of capital works in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15575/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the school to which he refers applied to my Department for additional mainstream accommodation and ancillary accommodation. Given the current financial constraints within which my Department is operating, the position is that priority is being given to school applications for essential mainstream classroom and special education accommodation. In this regard, my Department recently approved funding to the school in question for the construction of an additional classroom and special needs facilities. My Department however has also advised the school concerned that it is not in a position at this time to provide funding for the ancillary accommodation, including office space, also sought by the school.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (96)

Seán Fleming

Question:

96. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be approved and paid for capital works in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Laois; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15576/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that on 20th March last, I announced that 386 schools have been approved funding under the Summer Works Scheme to undertake school improvements. This first round of funding will allow schools to carry out small and medium scale building works across three categories of projects - Gas, Electrical and Mechanical. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the application to which he refers has been successful and details are published on my Department's website. Schools can access further details and instructions on how to proceed with the projects using the on-line Esinet Portal.

Autism Support Services

Questions (97)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

97. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 358 to 362, inclusive, of March 2014, in view of the fact that his Department’s document Model A required that there would be advice and supervision from an ABA specialist for teachers and that the class teacher would receive ABA training prior to taking responsibility for the class, if he will confirm whether these two requirements became outdated along with Model A or if he will provide details of the control and oversight process that is currently in place to supervise externally the use of ABA in over 500 ASD units; and if his Department has consulted with the division of behaviour analysis on the adequacy and quality of this control mechanism in view of his reply that the SESS is a support service for teachers and is not involved in the supervision of the implementation of ABA. [15577/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As I previously advised the Deputy the Model concept became outdated in that it refers to specific models of provision. It was recognised that the model concept was complex and multipurpose. It was determined that parents of children with autism should have three distinct choices available to them; their child could either attend a mainstream class in their local school with additional supports as required, they could attend a special class in a mainstream school or they could attend a special school. The Deputy will be aware that while some children with autism can thrive in a mainstream class, special classes have been specifically designed to meet the needs of those who require more intensive support. Special classes for children with autism in mainstream schools reflect the model A concept.

Qualified primary teachers are equipped to teach special classes for children with autism. In addition my Department provides for a comprehensive system of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers in the area of special educational needs including teachers of children with autism. Central to this is the Special Education Support Service (SESS). For the period between 2008 and 2010 teachers were appointed to new autism classes in advance of the class opening to facilitate CPD for the teachers in question. The CPD continues to be provided by SESS, but due to the smaller numbers of teachers requiring training the appointments are no longer made in advance. Funding is also made available through the SESS support scheme enabling teachers to identify their own CPD needs and attend appropriate and relevant courses not provided directly by the SESS.

The SESS has a number of teams involved in the provision of CPD and support to teachers of students with challenging behaviour; the Challenging Behaviour Team, the Autism Team and the Contemporary Applied Behaviour Analysis Team. Thirteen members of the SESS are directly involved in these teams. I am satisfied that SESS is making appropriate provision to support teachers and schools in this area. The SESS has not consulted with the Division of Behaviour Analysis in this regard. Two full-time SESS team members hold a BCBA qualification with three others currently having post-graduate qualifications in this area.

Autism Support Services

Questions (98)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

98. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 358 to 362, inclusive, of March 2014, in view of the encouragement of the Ombudsman for Children's office in October 2012 that greater clarity on his Department's policy on the education of children with autism would be useful for schools and parents, if he will provide a complete list of all the current departmental policies that specifically relate to the education of children with autism in view of his reply that the boards of management of schools have a formal role under the Education Act to ensure that all departmental policies are adhered to in their schools. [15578/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's policy on the education of children with autism resides within the overall policies on the education of children including those with special educational needs. The relevant circulars are available on www.education.gov.ie. Boards of Management and School staff are also supported in this regard by the Special Education Support Service, the National Educational Psychological Service and the National Council for Special Education. The following websites may be of interest to the Deputy in this regard www.SESS.ie and www.NCSE.ie.

I previously outlined in the response to the Parliamentary Question to which the Deputy refers that my Department commenced collating a statement of existing policy on the education of children with autism last year. Subsequently I requested the NCSE to prepare Policy Advice on the Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. I am confident that the policy advice, when it has been delivered will provide the level of clarity which was the purpose of the Ombudsman's encouragement.

Autism Support Services

Questions (99)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

99. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 358 to 362, inclusive, of March 2014, the reason he has been unable to obtain a specific date or even an indicative date of the year when Model A became outdated; and the reason he made no reference in his reply to his Department's documentation that was issued to the schools replacing the Model A document. [15579/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As I previously advised the Deputy the Model A document in question became outdated in that it refers to specific models of provision. I do not have a specific date from which the prescribed model became outdated. However from 2006/2007 it was recognised that the model concept was complex and multipurpose. It was determined that parents of children with autism should have three distinct choices available to them; their child could either attend a mainstream class in their local school with additional supports as required, they could attend a special class in a mainstream school or they could attend a special school. The Deputy will be aware that while some children with autism can thrive in a mainstream class, special classes have been specifically designed to meet the needs of those who require more intensive support.