Question No. 42 with Question No. 30.

Central Bank of Ireland Staff

Questions (43)

Michael McGrath

Question:

43. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Finance the number of staff vacancies, by function, currently in the Central Bank of Ireland; the efforts that have been made to fill these posts; the reason they remain unfilled; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23934/14]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

As Minister for Finance, I have no role in the employment of staff in the Central Bank. Under the Central Bank Act 1942, the Central Bank Commission is responsible for staffing matters in the Central Bank with a view to enabling the Central Bank to perform and exercise its functions and powers.

The Central Bank Commission approves the staffing plan for the Central Bank on an annual basis and this defines the resourcing needs across the organisation. The Central Bank adopts a thorough recruitment and selection process for all positions with a view to identifying potential candidates and selecting the most suitable candidate.

I have been informed by the Central Bank that it operates to a recruitment target of 10 weeks from the time a vacancy arises until a candidate is offered a job.  On average this process takes 7.4 weeks. There are currently 133 vacancies. 50 offers have been made for these 133 vacancies and 27 have so far been accepted by candidates. In the Regulation area there are currently 72 vacancies for which 34 offers have been made, in Central Banking 20 vacancies for which 6 offers have been made and in Operations 37 roles for which 10 offers have been made. The remaining 4 vacancies are at senior management level and in the Investor Compensation Company Ltd.

I have been further informed by the Central Bank that seven of the current vacancies will fall outside the target 10 week window, reflecting the difficulty of recruiting for some highly specialised roles.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (44)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

44. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will re-examine the unsuccessful application that a school (details supplied) in Dublin 5 made under the summer works scheme for the replacement of single-glazed windows which are in a very poor condition and urgently need to be replaced; if his Department will pay for their replacement under a different scheme if not under the summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23642/14]

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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 over 770 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 including those received for windows.

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. I regret that there is no other funding stream available for window replacement.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (45)

Shane Ross

Question:

45. Deputy Shane Ross asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps taken to recruit companies in new sectors to implement apprenticeship programmes, aside from JobBridge, bearing in mind that the review of apprenticeship training in Ireland, published on 21 January 2014, presented evidence showing countries with high quality apprenticeship programmes have great success in promoting quality employment for young persons, following on from this and, in particular, taking into consideration the exceptionally high youth unemployment rates here, the review recommended an expansion of apprenticeships to new business and industrial sectors. [23645/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The review of apprenticeship in Ireland was progressed by an independent review group and has made a very comprehensive series of recommendations to my Department following its consultations with stakeholders (including employers and employer representative bodies).

As noted by the Deputy, the framework involves plans to expand apprenticeship beyond the sectors in which it currently operates. Implementation of the recommendations will require the input of a wide number of stakeholders involved in the provision of education and training and quality assessment as well as employers. Consultation on how to implement the recommendations is now underway, again with direct input from employer representative bodies, and an implementation plan will be finalised by the end of June.

School Curriculum

Questions (46)

Finian McGrath

Question:

46. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding second level subject choice and the leaving certificate (details supplied). [23657/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The criteria for the allocation of posts are communicated to school managements annually and are available on the Department website.I recognise that teacher allocations set the parameters in relation to the number of subjects on offer in schools. However, the deployment of teaching staff in the school, the range of subjects offered and ultimately the quality of teaching and learning are in the first instance a matter for the school management authorities. Sharing arrangements between post-primary schools can help to ensure that the range of subjects available to pupils is maximised.

If schools have difficulties with providing individual subjects (e.g through a retirement of a teacher in one of the subjects concerned) some short-term support is provided through the curricular concessions process to enable them to meet their curricular needs. The detail of this process is set out with the criteria for the allocation of posts and is also available on the website.

The allocation process also includes an appeals mechanism under which schools can appeal against the allocation due to them under the staffing schedules. The appeal procedures are set out in the published staffing arrangements. The Appeals Board operates independently of the Department and its decisions is final.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (47)

Michelle Mulherin

Question:

47. Deputy Michelle Mulherin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a school (details supplied) in County Mayo was refused a grant under the summer works scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23663/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy submitted a category 1 application under the 2014 Summer Works Scheme. The application relates to Gas Works.

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 over 770 schools undertake improvement works during the summer months.

In the case of the school, referred to by the Deputy, my Department liaised with the school regarding the summer works project sought in the context of the proposed major capital project earmarked for the school. As a new school building on a greenfield site is being progressed into the architectural planning process for the school in question, it was agreed with the school not to proceed with the application made under the summer works scheme.

State Examinations

Questions (48)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

48. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 164 of 30 April 2014, when a further reply will issue from the State Examinations Commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23672/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The SEC has informed me that a reply issued to PQ 19041/14 on the 28th of May 2014.

School Textbooks Rental Scheme

Questions (49)

Simon Harris

Question:

49. Deputy Simon Harris asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) in County Wicklow which does not currently operate a book rental scheme will receive funding for the establishment of such under the book rental scheme 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23679/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In Budget 2013 funding of €5million for three years was provided to support the establishment of book rental schemes in primary schools that did not operate such schemes. DEIS schools will receive €150 per child and non-DEIS schools will receive €100 per child in seed capital over the next two years to establish book rental schemes. This will cost approximately €6.7m. The school referred to by the Deputy operates a book rental/loan scheme and therefore did not qualify for this funding under the initial scheme.

I indicated that following allocation of the initial round of funding, I would re-examine the scheme to see if I could allocate funding to primary schools that already had such schemes. I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the balance of the funding, some €8.3m, will be divided among all primary schools that currently operate book rental schemes in 2015 and 2016. These schools are expected to receive €18 per pupil or €20 per pupil in DEIS schools over those two years. Every primary schools, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will now benefit from the School Book Rental Scheme.