Schools Establishment

Questions (257)

Dessie Ellis

Question:

257. Deputy Dessie Ellis asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will make a report on the possibility of opening an Educate Together secondary school in the Dublin north west area. [21324/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be pleased to know that a new post-primary school under the patronage of Educate Together is commencing operation in September 2014 in the Dublin northwest area. The school will be located in Hansfield, Dublin 15.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (258, 267)

Seán Kenny

Question:

258. Deputy Seán Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for funding under the summer works scheme to replace windows will be approved in respect of a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5. [21343/14]

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Terence Flanagan

Question:

267. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding will be provided by his Department to enable a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5 to replace its windows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21451/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 258 and 267 together. I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputies submitted an application for window replacement under the 2014 Summer Works Scheme. The Deputies will be aware that I recently announced details of the schools that will receive Summer Works Scheme funding in 2014 in respect of applications submitted for Categories 1 to 6 i.e. Gas, Electrical, Mechanical, Toilet Facilities and Roof Works projects. In total, I have approved the spending of more than €70 million on the Summer Works Scheme to allow 772 schools undertake improvement works during the summer months. Commensurate with the level of funding set aside for the Scheme, applications were assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the Circular accompanying the Scheme. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the Scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications. However, in accordance with the Scheme's Circular, the school's application will be retained and will be prioritised for consideration under further rounds of the Summer Works Scheme in the future, subject to availability of funding.

School Transport Administration

Questions (259)

Luke 'Ming' Flanagan

Question:

259. Deputy Luke 'Ming' Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills in view of the statement on page 174 of the FGS report (details supplied) and the fact that his answer to Parliamentary Question No. 55 of 10 April 2014 states that the FGS report did not identify any such services where Bus Éireann was paid sums in excess of those amounts, the action he will take in respect of the officials who withheld this information to Dáil Éireann, which gives the wrong impression that no sums were paid in excess by his Department to Bus Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21351/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am satisfied that my answer to Parliamentary Question No. 55 of 10 April 2014 correctly reflects the position and does not require any amendment in the light of the Deputy's question.

Teaching Qualifications

Questions (260, 261)

Pat Deering

Question:

260. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a decision will be reached as to whether a student will have to study honours maths for the leaving certificate in order to study for a bachelor of education. [21365/14]

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Pat Deering

Question:

261. Deputy Pat Deering asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grounds on which honours maths is essential in order to study for a bachelor of education. [21366/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 260 and 261 together. As all primary teachers teach mathematics as an integral part of the curriculum, I believe that raising the quality of teaching and the confidence of teachers will have a positive effect on all children's performance in mathematics. I have asked the Teaching Council to advise on the entry requirements for initial teacher education including those for mathematics in view of overall concerns regarding standards in mathematics. The Teaching Council undertook a public consultation process on a proposal to raise the entry requirements for primary initial teacher education. However, the Council advised that due to the complexity of the issues involved it was not possible to make any clear conclusion from the consultation, and that further research was required. The Council has commissioned the ESRI to conduct research and it is expected that the final report will be presented to the Teaching Council's Education Committee in the last quarter of 2014. I have asked the Council that the research be conducted in an expedient manner so that clear and definitive advice can be provided and a decision made at the earliest opportunity.

School Accommodation

Questions (262)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

262. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills his Department's position in relation to the provision of a new school (details supplied) in County Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21368/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As I advised the Deputy in my response to Parliamentary Question No. 100 on 17 April last, my officials have made contact with the school authorities relating to their accommodation needs. I understand that the school authorities have undertaken to submit an application to my Department for funding for capital works. The application will be considered when received and a response will be conveyed to the school subsequently.

Autism Support Services

Questions (263)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

263. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an ABA school (details supplied) will be permitted to avail of the July education programme for students with learning difficulties or autism; the arrangements that are being made to expand the scheme to all schools catering for children with such conditions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21372/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

July Provision is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides July Provision for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided. The school referred to by the Deputy has not applied to participate in the school based programme. I wish to clarify for the Deputy that my Department's position is that as each child with autism is unique, they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs and my Department's policy is to promote a child- centred approach to the education of children with special education including autism. Applied Behavioural Analysis, or ABA, is one of the many approaches used in special classes for children with autism. My Department does not support schools which focus exclusively on one particular approach and therefore the school to which the Deputy refers is recognised as a special school for children with autism. It is not proposed at this time to extend the July Provision scheme to further disability categories. The NCSE is currently preparing policy advice on the education of children with autism which will include a review of July Provision. I expect that the final report, which is to be delivered in the Spring of 2015, will consider the broadest possible range of views and provide recommendations which will assist the development of policy for future years.

School Transport Applications

Questions (264)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

264. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review a school transport application in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Donegal on health grounds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21390/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I understand that the person referred to by the Deputy will complete his post primary education at the end of this school year. As I further understand that the centre to be attended by the person in question caters for adults, the provision of school transport does not arise.

Schools Building Projects Applications

Questions (265)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

265. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application from a school (details supplied) in County Dublin for an extension in order to meet the needs of students, particularly with regard to providing science classes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21393/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has an application with my Department for capital funding for a major school project. Information in respect of the current status of all assessed applications for major capital works, including this project, is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie. As outlined in the Five Year Plan, the delivery of major school projects required to meet demographic demand will be the main focus for capital investment in the coming years. In view of the funding constraints imposed by the need to prioritise available funding to meet additional demographic requirements, my Department is not in a position to provide an indicative timeframe for the progression of this school project at this time.

Autism Support Services

Question No. 267 answered with Question No. 258.

Questions (266)

John O'Mahony

Question:

266. Deputy John O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 253 of 15 April 2014, when the officials will contact the person concerned as outlined in the reply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21418/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that a decision has been made in this case and a letter has issued to the person concerned.

Question No. 267 answered with Question No. 258.

School Equipment

Questions (268)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

268. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a determination will issue on an appeal against the decision not to approve sufficient funding to equip two new classrooms at a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21453/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers has made a request for funding to equip two specialist rooms. My officials are currently liaising with the school to determine the extent of this request. Upon receipt of all the relevant facts from the school, a decision will then be made on this application. It is anticipated that a decision will be made in the coming weeks.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (269)

Patrick O'Donovan

Question:

269. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider a decision in an application under the summer works scheme which is now under appeal in respect of a school (details supplied) in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21460/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As outlined in the Circular governing the operation of the scheme, applications for works in the higher categories of eligible works were prioritised and a list of 772 successful schools was announced on 20 March 2014 and 2nd May 2014. I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for mechanical works under the 2014 Summer Works Scheme. Unfortunately the school in question did not complete all elements of the application form and thus the application was deemed invalid. The school submitted an appeal in respect of the application which is currently being considered. The Department will revert to the school in question with a decision shortly.

Autism Support Services

Questions (270, 271)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

270. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 181 of 30 April 2014, if he will confirm the date on which the actual Model A document that was presented to the High Court in the Ó Cuanacháin case was approved by his Department; if he will provide copies of documentation recording that this approval was made; and if he will confirm that the Model A document was circulated to all schools with ASD units at that time in view of the reference by the High Court judge to the framework of autism-specific education proposed by the State and apparently available in September 2006 at the two primary schools in his area and the model referred to in the proceedings as Model A. [21477/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

271. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 181 of 30 April 2014, in view of the High Court judge stating in his judgment in the Ó Cuanacháin case that the court was in effect being asked about a claim into the future to decide that Model A as proposed by the State was not an appropriate primary educational provision, the reason he is now stating that the model terminology was primarily internal when it is clear from what the judge stated that a decision was being made in the case before the High Court on whether or not Model A was appropriate for educating some children with autism. [21478/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 270 and 271 together. Any internal documents relating to the exhibition of evidence to the High Court constitute communication between my Department and its legal team, in the context of litigation and, as I have already advised, such communications are the subject of legal professional privilege. I previously advised the Deputy that the model documentation was primarily internal. In the case of each of the ASD classes currently operating throughout the country, they were opened with the direct support of the NCSE/SENO and/or the Inspectorate and/or the relevant NEPS Psychologist. Through the proviso of this direct support, each school received the advice and guidance necessary to assist them in the development of their units. It is not possible to say whether an individual school received documentation as part of the support and guidance provided by either NEPS or the Inspectorate when their ASD unit was opened. However I also advised the Deputy previously that the model concept in question was not disregarded, rather the scenarios described by the models were simplified. Elements of teaching frameworks, whole school training and the extended school year remain features of current provision. I previously advised the Deputy that the discontinuation of the model concept in favour of the mainstream, special class and special school provision did not materially alter the provision being made for children with autism. As previously outlined the NCSE is currently developing policy advice on the education of children with autism. I specifically requested the NCSE to consult as widely as possible in the preparation of the advice as it presents an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute to the final advice document which will assist in the development of policy in my Department for future years. The terms of reference for the policy advice are on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie and will address many of the issues raised recently by the Deputy. Finally it should be noted that the decision of the court in the case to which the Deputy has referred was to the effect that, the decision as to what model of education contained within it the ability to provide an appropriate education was a responsibility of the Minister under the constitution and that the Minister had made this decision having taken advice. This is clearly an ongoing responsibility and the changes which have taken place since this finding and which may take place as a consequence of the forthcoming NCSE policy advice are entirely consistent with the court's findings.

Autism Support Services

Questions (272)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

272. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 182 of 30 April 2014, if he will confirm that special needs assistants are currently not provided with training in ABA as would have been required under Model A; and if he will confirm that this does materially alter the educational provision being made for children with autism now that Model A has been discontinued in favour of mainstream, special classes and special school provision. [21479/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware my Department's position is that as each child with autism is unique, they should have access to a range of different approaches to meet their individual needs and my Department's policy is to promote a child- centred approach to the education of children with special education including autism. The use of ABA as part of the range of interventions is particularly useful for addressing behavioural issues. As I previously outlined for the Deputy the brief of the Special Education Support service (SESS) is to enhance the quality of learning and teaching of students with special educational needs through the provision of CPD and support for teachers in mainstream schools, primary and post-primary special schools, and special classes. The SESS also provides whole school training at the request of schools and this can include training for Special Needs Assistants. The model concept in question was not disregarded, rather the scenarios described by the models were simplified. Elements of teaching frameworks, whole school training and the extended school year remain features of current provision. I previously advised the Deputy that the discontinuation of the model concept in favour of the mainstream, special class and special school provision did not materially alter the provision being made for children with autism. It is a matter for schools to determine the approach or mix of approaches which they will use in each individual case. The approach towards each child's education would be based on the individual educational needs of the child and would have regard to the child's individual education plan and supporting professional reports, etc. and would require the interaction of all school personnel involved in the provision of education to the child. 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 criteria by which SNA support is allocated to pupils are set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014. The Circular explains that where pupils have particular care needs, schools should ensure that SNAs who are recruited to work with such children are equipped with the skills necessary to support the particular needs of these pupils. As previously outlined the NCSE is currently developing policy advice on the education of children with autism. I specifically requested the NCSE to consult as widely as possible in the preparation of the advice as it presents an opportunity for all interested parties to contribute to the final advice document which will assist in the development of policy in my Department for future years. The terms of reference for the policy advice are on the NCSE website www.ncse.ie and will address many of the issues raised recently by the Deputy.

Autism Support Services

Questions (273, 274)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

273. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 183 of 30 April 2014, the date on which the information pamphlet he referred to will be issued; if the pamphlet will include a list of all interventions currently approved by his Department for use in educating children with autism, along with at least one reference to peer-reviewed research supporting the effectiveness of each intervention listed; and if the pamphlet will specify that the decision on whether to use all or any of these interventions will be made by the classroom teacher. [21480/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

274. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 183 of 30 April 2014, in view of the participation of the National Council for Special Education in the preparation of the information pamphlet regarding the education of children with autism, if he will confirm that the pamphlet will not contain a statement that all children, including children with special educational needs, have a right to an education which is appropriate to their needs, as this statement is misleading and contained in the NCSE booklet of September 2011; and if this statement will also be removed from the NCSE booklet of September 2011. [21481/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 and 274 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the information pamphlet for parents/guardians, being prepared and published by the NCSE in consultation with my officials, is at an advanced stage of preparation and will shortly be published. The aim of this pamphlet is to inform parents and guardians of supports and services available for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder and their families. Although an outline of my Department's policy will be a feature, the publication of the pamphlet is not intended to replace any formal statement of the Minister's policy on the education of children with autism spectrum disorder nor is it, or the NCSE booklet of September 2011, purporting to be a legal document. The contents of the booklet are a matter for the NCSE. The pamphlet will be broadly similar to the NCSE pamphlet in respect of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children. I have arranged for a copy of that pamphlet to be sent to the Deputy. The Deputy will see that this pamphlet, which is the first of a series of such pamphlets being prepared for a wide variety of special educational needs, provides a general overview of available supports and services rather than the detail mentioned in his question.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (275)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

275. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the plans to keep a school (details supplied) in County Meath operational on some level throughout the summer months in view of the importance of the role it plays within the local community. [21484/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that July Provision is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides July Provision for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided. The school referred to by the Deputy has not applied to participate in the school based programme and home based provision will be approved for the children in question.

School Enrolments

Questions (276, 277)

Clare Daly

Question:

276. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider his decision to refuse sanction for a second infant class in respect of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21508/14]

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Joan Collins

Question:

277. Deputy Joan Collins asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will reconsider his decision to refuse sanction for a second infant class in respect of a school (details supplied). [21509/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 277 together. I can confirm that my Department received an application from the school referred to by the Deputies for funding to facilitate its growth to a second stream i.e. a 16 classroom school. As the Deputies will be aware, the overriding objective of Education capital expenditure is to meet the demographic challenge facing the education system, whereby total pupil enrolment in both primary and post-primary schools is expected to grow by around 107,000 additional pupils between 2012 and 2019 - over 70,000 at primary level and over 35,000 at post primary - and will continue to rise at post primary level to the year 2026, at least. A priority therefore for my Department is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. My Department is not in a position to develop one school where this may negatively impact on other schools in the area. In the case of Sligo, it is projected that whilst overall pupil numbers across the 13 schools in the Sligo catchment area will be relatively stable up to 2019, it is anticipated that overall pupil enrolment numbers will decline thereafter. In terms of school accommodation, there is sufficient capacity available within existing schools to cater for the demand for school places. In that regard, an additional 8 classrooms catering for up to 224 pupils in the case of the school, in question, has the potential to have a significant impact on other schools in the same catchment area. In light of the above, the school authority has been advised that my Department is not in a position to accede to the school's request in respect of an additional class of junior infants in September 2014. However to assess further the pupil enrolment trends in the Sligo area including information on school pre-enrolments for the 2014/2015 academic year, my Department will be contacting the Patron and school authorities of the 13 primary schools in the Sligo area. When this data has been obtained and reviewed, my Department will communicate further with the Patron and school authority in question.

Special Educational Needs Staffing

Questions (278)

Brendan Smith

Question:

278. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the widespread concerns in relation to the new requirement that persons providing tuition for children with special needs during the month of July, commonly referred to as the July provision, have to be registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that many parents are concerned that this requirement will deny some special needs assistants the opportunity to continue working with those children; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21541/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

July Provision is available to all special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes catering for children with autism that choose to extend their education services through the month of July. My Department also provides July Provision for pupils with a severe/profound general learning disability. Where school based provision is not feasible, home based provision may be grant aided. Where a school chooses not to extend their services for July, eligible children in the school will be granted home based July Provision, on application. As the home based provision takes place outside the usual school structure it is important that home tutors are qualified to provide an educational programme. It is appropriate therefore that the qualification standard in the Home Based July Provision generally reflects that required in a school environment. Home tutors should be fully qualified teachers who are registered with the Teaching Council of Ireland. When it is not possible to recruit a fully qualified teacher then consideration will be given to the engagement of a tutor who is registered with the Teaching Council and has a primary degree (minimum level 7 FETAC) in a relevant area including e.g. psychology. The qualification standards for home tutors have not altered and if an SNA meets these standards they can also be considered in this context. The requirement that all home tutors be registered with the Teaching Council was introduced in September 2013. Parents with any concerns relating to the scheme can contact my officials at 090 64 84296.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (279)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

279. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) will receive funding through the summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21550/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for window replacement under the 2014 Summer Works Scheme. The Deputy will be aware that I recently announced details of the schools that will receive Summer Works Scheme funding in 2014 in respect of applications submitted for Categories 1 to 6 i.e. Gas, Electrical, Mechanical, Toilet Facilities and Roof Works projects. In total, I have approved the spending of more than €70 million on the Summer Works Scheme to allow 772 schools undertake improvement works during the summer months. Commensurate with the level of funding set aside for the Scheme, applications were assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the Circular accompanying the Scheme. Unfortunately, due to the scale of demand for funding under the Scheme, it was not possible to grant aid all applications. However, in accordance with the Scheme's Circular, the school's application will be retained and will be prioritised for consideration under further rounds of the Summer Works Scheme in the future, subject to availability of funding.