Educational Reform

Questions (87)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

87. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the level of information, resources and training that will be provided to schools in order to bring forward proposed changes to the new junior cycle before its implementation. [21736/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Resources are currently targetted at providing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in advance of implementation. The Junior Cycle for Teachers (JCT) has been established by my Department to provide effective support to schools in the context of their implementation of the new Framework for Junior Cycle. A comprehensive and long-term national programme of CPD for school leaders and teachers commenced in October 2013. CPD will be provided on a rolling basis as each new subject specification is implemented, throughout the duration of the implementation phases of A Framework for Junior Cycle. A minimum of 4.5 days CPD will be available to all teachers of English and a minimum of 4 days CPD will be available to teachers of all other subjects. Additional supplementary CPD in particular areas of interest will also be made available e.g. workshops on teaching film and drama for teachers of English. All schools will also have one day whole-school in-service per year for each year of the roll-out of the JCSA and approval is given for schools to close, subject to Board of Management approval, to facilitate this CPD for all staff. The website www.juniorcycle.ie is a collaboration between the NCCA and JCT and is an integral part of the support structures for schools and hosts information and materials aimed at supporting the implementation of the reformed Junior Cycle in schools. The Government is investing heavily in measures to support teachers and schools as they implement the Junior Cycle Framework with up to €4.8m being made available in 2014. Actual expenditure for the year depends on a range of factors including level of attendance at CPD and uptake of substitution and so on.

Schools Refurbishment

Questions (88)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

88. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options open to a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5 regarding funding for the replacement of windows in the school building in view of a decision not to grant funding to the school under the summer works scheme 2014 and in circumstances where the existing windows in the school pose health and safety concerns. [21737/14]

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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.

State Examinations

Questions (89)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

89. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a reader for the leaving certificate examinations in respect of a person (details supplied) in Dublin 15. [21750/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations. The State Examinations Commission operates a scheme of Reasonable Accommodations in the Certificate examinations. Applications for such accommodations are submitted by schools on behalf of their students. Full details of the scheme are available for downloading from their website: www.examinations.ie/candidates/reasonableaccommodations. In view of this I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you.

State Examinations

Questions (90)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

90. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students with dyslexia or other conditions sitting their leaving certificate this year who had readers and tape recorders when they sat their junior certificate but have not been allocated them for their leaving certificate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21751/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations. The State Examinations Commission operates a scheme of Reasonable Accommodations in the Certificate examinations. Applications for such accommodations are submitted by schools on behalf of their students. Full details of the scheme are available for downloading from their website: www.examinations.ie/candidates/reasonableaccommodations. In view of this I have forwarded your query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply to you.

Value for Money Reviews

Questions (91)

Joe McHugh

Question:

91. Deputy Joe McHugh asked the Minister for Education and Skills the findings of the small primary schools value for money review (details supplied) will be made public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21753/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am considering the report of the value for money review of small primary school provision in consultation with my Government colleagues. My intention is to publish the report on completion of this consideration process. I am not in a position to give a precise publication date at this time.

School Enrolments

Questions (92, 93)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

92. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason his Department refused to sanction the enrolment of a 7th junior infants class in the Holy Family School, Swords, County Dublin in September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21811/14]

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Charlie McConalogue

Question:

93. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department considered the implications for families with older children already in attendance at a school (details supplied) in County Dublin of the revocation of previously offered places to children due to attend the school because of the Government's refusal to sanction the additional junior infants class; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21812/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92 and 93 together.

I am aware of the decision by the authorities of the school concerned to advise parents of the availability of a 7th stream of junior infant places. I am also aware that this decision was taken without the approval of the school's Patron and without the prior approval of my Department. The position is that there are currently two schools in the area with the same Patron as the school, referred to by the Deputy, that have either lost or are due to lose mainstream teaching posts. These schools therefore have spare capacity within their buildings and have expressed a willingness to accept an additional stream of Junior Infants each, to alleviate any pressure on places in the area. This undertaking was given by these schools on 19th March last after contact with my Department. It is important that school size is monitored and that a balance is preserved among all schools in catchment areas to ensure that one school is not expanding at the expense or the viability of another school. This may sometimes result in children not being offered a place in their school of first choice. In light of the above, the school authority concerned has been advised that my Department is not in a position to accede to the school's request.

Schools Amalgamation

Questions (94)

Finian McGrath

Question:

94. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide an update on the proposal to amalgamate schools (details supplied) in Dublin 10; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21813/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that while my Department is aware of the Patron's proposals to merge the schools concerned, the Department has not received any proposal from the Patron in the matter. The Department understands that the Patron has had discussions with the relevant stakeholders in the Dublin 10 area as part of its assessment as to future school accommodation needs in that regard. The Deputy will be aware that I have said on several occasions that any decisions to amalgamate schools will be voluntary and follow decisions taken at a local level. Amalgamation proposals must first involve consultation with all of the relevant stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers, and local communities. It must be well planned and managed in a manner that accommodates the interests of all stakeholders and contributes to an inclusive education system. The Patron and relevant stakeholders are required 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. All agreed amalgamation proposals must be submitted to my Department for approval. Proposals that may have major capital implications can only be considered within the context of my Department's capital budget and the challenges facing my Department in meeting national demographic demands.