Teacher Redeployment

Questions (201)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

201. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the qualifying criteria for supplementary panel rights will be changed so that overall experience rather than just one year's earnings will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22236/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus/permanent CID holding teachers to schools that have vacancies. Thereafter, schools are required under the panel arrangements to fill permanent vacancies from supplementary panels comprised of eligible fixed-term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers. The supplementary redeployment arrangements for the 2014/15 school year were published in November 2013 following consultation with the relevant education partners. There is no scope to alter these arrangements at this time.The redeployment arrangements are reviewed annually with the relevant education partners to determine what adjustment, if any, is required for subsequent school years. Arrangements for the 2015/16 school year will be agreed later in the year and will be published on the Department website.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (202)

Seán Fleming

Question:

202. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grant, financial assistance or bursary available to Irish persons who wish to commence studying for nursing in a university (details supplied) in Scotland in September 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22241/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the terms of the student grant scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means. Under my Department's student grant scheme, eligible candidates may receive funding provided they are attending an approved course at an approved institution. An approved course is defined as a full-time undergraduate course of at least two years duration or a full-time postgraduate course of not less than one year duration pursued in an approved institution.

Students who are attending undergraduate courses in an EU Member State can apply for a maintenance grant in respect of an approved course which is being pursued in an approved institution. The student grant scheme does not extend to postgraduate courses pursued outside of Ireland. To determine eligibility, a student may submit a fully completed online grant application to SUSI, via www.susi.ie. for the 2014/15 academic year. The online application system for 2014/15 is now open.

Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements

Questions (203)

Seán Fleming

Question:

203. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the Central Applications Office gives a higher priority to students who obtained leaving certificate points in the current year when considering applications for a course (details supplied) in third level education compared with students who completed their leaving certificate in 2013, 2012 or earlier years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22242/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Responsibility for managing access to third level places rests with the Central Applications Office (CAO) and the third level institutions generally. The higher education institutions have delegated to the CAO the task of processing applications to their first year undergraduate courses. However, the participating institutions retain the function of making decisions on admissions.

Course offers are made by the CAO on the basis of a points system linked to performance in the Leaving Certificate Examination. The number of points needed for any course depends on the number of places available and the number of applicants for those places, accordingly the points for any course may vary from year to year. Course offers are made to students that have the required points for the current year regardless of when they sat their Leaving Certificate.

Neither my Department nor the Higher Education Authority has any role to play in relation to the operation of the CAO or the admissions policies of third level institutions.

Autism Support Services

Questions (204, 205)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

204. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 192 and 195 of 6 May 2014, the way the Teaching Council defines the minimum course content required to enable primary school teachers effectively to teach children who have received a diagnosis of autism in autism-specific classes. [22250/14]

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Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

205. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 192 and 195 of 6 May 2014, if he will provide the list of evidence-based research to which he makes reference regarding his Department’s decisions on a range of matters including pedagogy, school curriculum, special educational needs and child development. [22251/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 204 and 205 together.

Since 2006 the Teaching Council is the body with statutory responsibility and authority for the teaching profession including accreditation of teaching qualifications and the registration of teachers. Providers of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) are responsible for content and development of their programmes. Providers must have regard to the Criteria and Guidelines published by the Teaching Council. All ITE Programmes are reviewed by the Council in accordance with the Criteria, so that graduates may teach in all primary schools.

As the Deputy is aware, the development of policy on the programmes, interventions and supports for children in education is a continuous and dynamic process. In making policy decisions my Department takes account of advice, research and information from a range of sources including from bodies under its aegis. In general, policy on curriculum and other matters is published by the Department along with relevant references to research and other inputs to policy making. Relevant publications are available on the websites of the Department and relevant aegis bodies. Various Department announcements and replies to PQs may also help. A definitive list along the lines requested is not available.

Autism Support Services

Questions (206)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

206. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 193 and 194 of 6 May 2014, wherein he stated that it is not the practice of his Department to issue a circular on each approach used in the classroom setting, the reason his Department considers this appropriate in view of the fact that further training in the mentioned approaches are not mandatory for teachers in autism-specific classes. [22252/14]

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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. 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 should be based on the individual educational needs of the child and should have regard to the child's individual education plan and supporting professional reports, etc. and should require the interaction of all school personnel involved in the provision of education to the child.

The fact that further training in the mentioned approaches is not mandatory for teachers in Autism Specific Classes is not a reason which would necessitate the issue of a circular on each approach used in a classroom setting.

Autism Support Services

Questions (207)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

207. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 193 and 194 of 6 May 2014, if he will confirm that there is not one person or organisation with the responsibility for the implementation of ABA in classrooms. [22253/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The position which was outlined in the response to Parliamentary Question numbers 193 and 194 on 6th May 2014 remains unchanged.

Autism Support Services

Questions (208)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

208. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 196 and 197 of 6 May 2014, if he will provide further details of the appropriate departmental circulars and guidelines to which he made reference in his reply. [22254/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As previously advised relevant circulars and guidelines are available on the website of my Department on www.education.ie. It is a matter for individual schools to decide for themselves the approaches which they may take in supporting children with special educational needs and accordingly it is a matter for schools to decide which of the circulars/guidance material will be of greatest assistance to them.

School Transport Eligibility

Questions (209)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

209. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a bus pass to a school will be restored in the case of a child (details supplied) in County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22263/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

From the commencement of the 2012/13 school year, school transport eligibility for post primary pupils is determined by reference to the distance they reside from their nearest post-primary education centre having regard to ethos and language. Pupils who were eligible for school transport prior to the introduction of the above change retain their transport eligibility for the duration of their post primary education cycle provided there is no change to their current circumstances. Siblings of these pupils and other pupils, who are not eligible for school transport, may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only in accordance with the terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme. Only children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid medical cards (GMS Scheme) are exempt from paying the annual charge. The terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme are being applied equitably on a national basis.

Children with special educational needs are eligible for school transport if they are attending the nearest recognised: mainstream school, special class / special school or a unit, that is or can be resourced, to meet their special educational needs under Department of Education and Skills' criteria. It is open to the family to liaise with the National Council for Special Education should they wish to consider applying for school transport under the terms of my Department's School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs.

Departmental Correspondence

Questions (210)

Robert Troy

Question:

210. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will respond without further delay to correspondence from a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath. [22271/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that my Department will, in the coming days, issue a response to the correspondence submitted by the Deputy.

Schools Recognition

Questions (211)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

211. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) in Dublin 13 is eligible for State funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22275/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Montessori school referred to by the Deputy is not a recognised school as defined in legislation by the 1998 Education Act and does not, therefore, qualify for State funding from my Department.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (212)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

212. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Education and Skills the facilities that will be made available to a school (details supplied) in County Cork for a deaf child who has put in an application for needs at the school as it has never had a deaf child before. [22316/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department allocates significant resources to ensure that pupils with special educational needs, including deaf and hard of hearing pupils, can participate fully in education. The policy of my Department is that children with special educational needs, including deaf and hard of hearing children, should be included in mainstream placements with additional supports provided. All schools and all school places are therefore available for children with special educational needs. In circumstances where children with special educational needs require more specialised interventions, special school or special class places are also available.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports, including the allocation of resources to schools for children who are deaf and hard of hearing. The NCSE operates within my Department's established criteria for the allocation of Special Education supports and the staffing resources available to my Department. All schools have the names and contact details of their local SENO. Parents may also contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

Depending on the needs of the child, deaf and hard of hearing pupils may receive additional teaching support in schools, either from a school's general allocation of Learning Support/Resource Teaching, or from an allocation of additional Resource Teacher hours to the schools from the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). Pupils who have care needs may receive access to Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support in schools. Many deaf and hard of hearing children have access to such SNA support. The criteria by which SNA support is allocated to pupils is set out in my Department's Circular 0030/2014. The Circular explains that schools should ensure that SNAs who work with Deaf and hard of hearing children are equipped with the skills necessary to support the particular needs of these pupils, including capacity to use Sign Language where required.

Other supports include provision for Assistive Technology which can ensure that educational materials can be provided in accessible formats, such as radio aids or sound field systems for deaf and hard of hearing pupils. My Department also provides funding for a weekly home tuition service whereby tutors visit the homes of deaf and hard of hearing pre-school children and school-going pupils to provide training in Irish Sign Language (ISL) for these children, their siblings and parents. In addition, the Visiting Teacher service provides a service to deaf and hard of hearing children from pre-school to third level, while the Special Education Support Service (SESS) expanded its team with specialist expertise in deaf education in January 2013.

Special Educational Needs Data

Questions (213, 214, 215)

Michael McNamara

Question:

213. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants in primary and secondary schools in County Clare; the number of children to whom they provided support in 2012 and 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22323/14]

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Michael McNamara

Question:

214. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of full-time and part-time special needs assistants posts to which the 10,965 whole-time equivalent posts allocated to County Clare schools translates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22324/14]

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Michael McNamara

Question:

215. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department or the National Council for Special Education operates a county cap or ceiling limiting the number of special needs assistants that can be appointed in a county; the county cap or ceiling for County Clare for 2013-2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22325/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 213 to 215, inclusive, together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the previous Government capped the number of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts at 10,575 in December 2010. That cap remained in place until December 2013. In December 2013, this Government increased the cap on the number of SNA posts by 390 posts to 10,965 at the end of 2014. The total number of Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) SNA posts currently allocated by the NCSE is 10,656 posts. Over 23,000 children currently access SNA services. The total number of WTE SNA posts at the end of the 2011/12 school year was 10,320 with over 22,000 children accessing SNA services, and 10,487 WTE posts at the end of the 2012/13 school year with over 23,000 children accessing SNA services. A Whole Time Equivalent SNA post equates to 32 hours per week.

A breakdown of the number of SNA posts allocated to each school, on a per county basis, including County Clare, for the 2013/14 and 2012/13 school years is available at the NCSE website www.ncse.ie. This list details the total number of Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) posts allocated to schools in County Clare. It is then a matter for each school to recruit persons, either on a whole or part time basis, to fill this total WTE allocation. I can advise the Deputy that there is no cap in place on the number of SNA posts which may be allocated within any individual County.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of SNA support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support. The deployment of SNAs within schools is then a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.