Schools Designation

Questions (267)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

267. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will request his Department to reassess the primary schools in Togher, County Cork with a view to granting DEIS status; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22882/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I have no immediate plans to carry out a reassessment of the levels of disadvantage in primary schools with a view to allowing additional schools join the DEIS programme.

There is a commitment under DEIS for ongoing evaluation to ensure successful implementation with the best possible approaches to measuring progress and outcomes at both local and national level. These evaluations also assist us in making evidence based judgements on future policy.

At a recent DEIS research dissemination seminar I announced the commissioning of a report which will collate all the evaluation work to date on the DEIS programme. This report will inform future policy development in relation to educational disadvantage, including the DEIS programme.

School Accommodation

Questions (268)

Jerry Buttimer

Question:

268. Deputy Jerry Buttimer asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulty of parents in enrolling children in a school (details supplied) in County Cork; if he will consider facilitating the expansion of the school to cater for the increased population of the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22884/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, a substantial 8 classroom extension to the school in question was completed in 2013. In addition, a new primary school was also opened in September last in the area concerned to meet demographic demand. My Department is not in receipt of an application for additional accommodation from the school referred to by the Deputy. I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department will however keep pupil enrolments in the area concerned under review.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (269)

Michael P. Kitt

Question:

269. Deputy Michael P. Kitt asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will examine the case of a person (details supplied) who has autism and is awaiting an educational place for some considerable time; if he will clarify the position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22891/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the establishment of a network of autism-specific special classes in schools across the country to cater for children with autism has been a key educational priority in recent years.

The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from primary and post primary schools for special educational needs supports, including the establishment of special classes in various geographical areas as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

Parents may contact their local SENO directly to discuss their child's special educational needs and to seek assistance in identifying placement options, using the contact details available on www.ncse.ie.

I have therefore arranged for the Deputy's question relating to this child to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

State Examinations

Questions (270)

Mary Mitchell O'Connor

Question:

270. Deputy Mary Mitchell O'Connor asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) in County Galway has been denied a reader for the leaving certificate exam in June 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22905/14]

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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 the Deputy's query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.

Higher Education Institutions

Question No. 272 answered with Question No. 241.

Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 260.

Questions (271)

Clare Daly

Question:

271. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the measures he will take to secure academic research and particularly oral histories in view of Boston College's failure to protect its work; and if he has any proposals to make in terms of offering to protect these archives. [22916/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The position is that the higher education institutions are autonomous bodies and their day to day operations are matters for the governing bodies of each institution. However, I understand that universities and institutes of technology have procedures in place to ensure that research undertaken, including the treatment of confidential information, is in keeping with accepted good practice. Indeed, many have dedicated ethics committees to oversee issues such as this. Furthermore, a policy statement on ensuring research integrity in Ireland will shortly be launched and articulates the commitment of higher education institutions to the highest standards of integrity in carrying out their research. This shared statement of commitment is intended to ensure full confidence in the Irish research system for participants, other stakeholders and the international research community.

Question No. 272 answered with Question No. 241.
Question No. 273 answered with Question No. 260.

Schools Building Projects Administration

Questions (274)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

274. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department will put in place a list of approved architects for school building projects in order that schools can choose from this list rather than having to find an architect themselves without any guidance or assistance from his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22963/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

All appointments using funding allocated under my Department's school building programme must be tendered in accordance with EU and National procurement guidelines.

For large school building projects (i.e. those with an estimated cost in excess of €2.5 million), design team services, including architects, are appointed from my Department's Framework for Consultancy Services – Large Schools (2012) via a competitive tendering competition. The tender competitions are generally conducted by my Department on behalf of the school. However, the school authority takes part in the final assessment of the tenders with the guidance and assistance of my Department officials.

Design teams for school building projects with a value of between €1 million and €2.5 million are tendered via the open tender procedure on the Governments e-Tenders web-site. In respect of minor building projects devolved to school authorities, my Department has recently published new and revised guidance documents on the delivery of those projects which include Guidance on Procuring Consultants for Small Works and a Step by Step Guide to using e-Tenders. All of these documents are available on my Department's website. These guidelines provide a balanced approach by allowing access for smaller firms while also ensuring that appropriate consultants are engaged for small works.

School Accommodation

Questions (275)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

275. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22973/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school, referred to by the Deputy, has made an application to my Department for capital funding for the provision of additional school accommodation.

The application concerned is currently under consideration and a decision will issue to the school authority shortly.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (276, 287)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Question:

276. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the resources available for exceptionally able children who fit the profile of giftedness; the information, support and advice in place for parents and teachers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22976/14]

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Michael McNamara

Question:

287. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports that are available in non-DEIS schools for children and parents of children who are hyper-intelligent; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23099/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 287 together.

The 1998 Education Act requires Boards of Management of each school to publish the policy of the school relating to participation by students with special educational needs, including students who are exceptionally able. The measures schools take in this regard are required to be stated in the school plan. It is the duty of the Board of Management to ensure that appropriate education services are made available to such students.

Schools at both primary and second level use strategies such as curriculum differentiation, curriculum enrichment and acceleration to facilitate the development of pupils who are exceptionally able.

Syllabi and curricula for second-level schools have been designed in such a way to enable teachers cater for the wide range of pupil ability. The revised primary curriculum, which has been supplied to every primary teacher, recognises the importance of developing the full potential of the child and caters for pupil diversity, including meeting the needs of exceptionally able pupils. Content is outlined in the curricula at both levels and process is also heavily emphasised. Enabling children to learn how to learn is stressed and facilitated. The development of language skills, investigatory and problem-solving skills, higher-order thinking skills and working individually, and as a member of a group, are all encouraged at both levels. While the use of information and communication technologies and the use of class and school libraries are of benefit in project work with all pupils, they have a special importance for pupils who are exceptionally able.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA), in collaboration with its counterparts in Northern Ireland, the Council for Curriculum Examination and Assessment (CCEA), produced guidelines entitled "Exceptionally Able Students – Draft Guidelines for Teachers" which issued to all Primary and Post Primary schools in November 2007 along with a questionnaire for feedback.

The NCCA/CCEA guidelines are designed to raise awareness of the social, emotional and academic needs of exceptionally able students and to assist teachers in planning their teaching and learning. The guidelines provide advice to schools on identification of gifted children, set out profiles of students, and whole school and classroom strategies and case studies which demonstrate how schools can best meet the needs of such students. The general strategies include differentiated teaching, acceleration and enrichment approaches in the context of participation in mainstream schools.

The Special Education Support Service (SESS) is a service under the management of my Department which provides support for teachers to assist them in meeting the needs of all pupils with special educational needs, including those pupils who are exceptionally able. The service is available to schools who may be seeking advice or support relating to a specific special education issue in the school. More information on the range of programmes offered by the SESS is available on www.sess.ie.

In addition, the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), also under the management of my Department, provides training in differentiation, in terms of differentiating for all pupils, whether less able/more able. Issues around exceptional ability and giftedness are addressed as part of the school planning process which is facilitated by the PDST.

Finally, I wish to advise the Deputy that this Government is committed, as set out in the Programme for Government, to examining supports in place for gifted students and specifically to the creation of improved links with third level institutions on a regional basis, to provide gifted students with access to new programmes or educational resources.

Summer Works Scheme Expenditure

Questions (277)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

277. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide in tabular form the list of primary schools by county which were granted funding for windows under the summer works scheme in 2014 together with the amount of funding each school received for windows and the percentage of the total summer works scheme budget which was allocated for windows; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22991/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

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 2014 Summer Works Scheme, applications were assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the Circular accompanying the scheme. Given the level of funding available, it was not possible to grant aid all applications, including those received for windows.

However, in accordance with the Scheme's Circular, applications from schools for works in categories 7 to 10, which includes windows, 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 (278)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

278. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a reader for the leaving certificate in respect of a person (details supplied) in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23005/14]

View answer

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 the Depuy's query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.

Teacher Training Provision

Questions (279)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

279. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has offered professional development to teachers who want to improve their mathematical knowledge; and his plans to rectify same. [23009/14]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Project Maths emphasises student understanding of mathematical concepts and the use of contexts and applications that enable students to relate Mathematics to their everyday experience.

The curriculum has been phased in over a number of years. In tandem with the roll-out, a comprehensive programme of professional development has been provided for all teachers of mathematics by the Project Maths Development Team (PMDT). To date, ten workshops have been offered to all maths teachers on a rolling basis as each strand of the curriculum was implemented. The workshops have encouraged teachers to adapt teaching strategies appropriate to the various curriculum strands and to developing student skills in critical areas such as problem solving. Teachers have also had opportunities to engage with additional CPD in the form of modular courses on areas of particular interest, for example, the use of ICT in maths teaching, as well as a national conference.

In addition, Project Maths is also supported by the Professional Diploma in Mathematics for Teaching, a blended learning, two year part-time programme. The programme assists 'out-of-field' teachers to acquire the extensive and complex integrated knowledge base including mathematical and pedagogical knowledge that is necessary for effective mathematics teaching at post-primary level with special reference to Project Maths. Since September 2012 it has been made available nationwide free of charge to improve the skills of certain maths teachers at post-primary level.

Provision of the course is led by the National Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching & Learning (NCE-MSTL), based in the University of Limerick (UL), and it will be accredited jointly by the UL and NUI Galway through their strategic alliance.

Some 600 teachers have participated in the programme so far and a further intake is planned for 2014.

State Examinations

Questions (280)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

280. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of junior certificate and leaving certificate pupils who applied during each of the past seven years for a reader, a waiver from the assessment of spelling, grammar and punctuation in the language subjects, use of a tape recorder or word processor, a scribe, reasonable accommodation on the grounds of visual impairment, reasonable accommodation on the grounds of hearing difficulties, reasonable accommodation on the grounds of physical disability, a helper for practical subjects, an exemption from the practical test in home economics, or an exemption from the project in home economics; the number of these applications that were granted during each of these years; the number of negative decisions that were appealed during each of these years; and the number of negative decisions that were successful on appeal. [23012/14]

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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 the Deputy's query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.

State Examinations

Questions (281)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

281. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the persons who sit on the group which decides on appeals where reasonable accommodations have been refused by the State Examinations Commission; and details of any remuneration they receive. [23013/14]

View answer

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 the Deputy's query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.

State Examinations

Questions (282)

Jonathan O'Brien

Question:

282. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding allocated to the State Examinations Commission during each of the past seven years for providing for reasonable accommodations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23014/14]

View answer

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 the Deputy's query to the State Examinations Commission for direct reply.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (283)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

283. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the way he will address the problems caused by the implementation of relatively new criteria for the registration of teachers who intend to engage in the July provision programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23016/14]

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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 on the National Framework of Qualifications) in a relevant area including e.g. psychology.

The qualification standards for home tutors have not altered. The requirement that all home tutors be registered with the Teaching Council was introduced in September 2013. Tutors with acceptable third level qualifications will be eligible to apply for registration. Accordingly, those whose qualifications were acceptable in the past remain eligible, provided they have applied for registration with the Teaching Council.

Parents with any concerns relating to the scheme can contact my officials at 090 64 84296.