Teachers' Remuneration

Questions (142)

Fiona O'Loughlin


142. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason new full-time primary school teachers must wait six weeks to receive their first salary payment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12559/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The school managerial bodies are the direct employers of school staff and my Department acts as paymaster for over 4000 schools. My Department will pay the school staff within the terms of the Payment of Wages Act 1991 and government pay agreements once it receives instructions from the schools to do so.

When a completed contract/appointment form is received by my Department from the managerial authority, my staff will set up that teacher for salary payment for the next available pay date. Salary is paid in arrears for work done. The school year runs from 1st September to the 31st August. The majority of new appointments and staff changes take place at the commencement of the school year.

In that regard, my Department gives commitments to Schools/Teacher Unions/Managerial Bodies that completed contracts/appointment forms for teachers commencing at the commencement of the school year which are received by a specified date in July will be paid in the first pay issue in September. In September 2018 the first pay day was the 6th September 2018 and the commitment referred to was fully implemented on that payroll.

The managerial authorities of schools are regularly advised that contracts/appointment forms should be submitted to my Department in a timely manner to avoid late payment of salary.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (143)

Fiona O'Loughlin


143. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if students can lose their SUSI grant if they register as homeless. [12560/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Student Grant Scheme, administered by Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), provides grant assistance to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means.

Prospective applicants who register as homeless will not lose their grant, provided they continue to meet the eligibility criteria regarding means, nationality etc.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Information on the fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

School Funding

Questions (144)

Fiona O'Loughlin


144. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the primary school grants calendar will be issued; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12561/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Grants Calendar for Primary, Voluntary Secondary, Community and Comprehensive schools is published on my Departments website and can be accessed at the following links.




School Inspection Reports

Questions (145)

John Lahart


145. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delay in publishing the outcome of the whole school inspection of a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12563/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Inspectorate is committed to evaluating schools in a way that is fair, consistent and transparent. The general principles in accordance with which the Inspectorate carries out its work are set out in the Code of Practice for the Inspectorate. (2015)

While the great majority of inspections to schools and other settings are carried out successfully, occasionally a board of a school or a teacher or other educational practitioner may be dissatisfied with an aspect of the inspection process or an Inspectorate report. When these cases arise the board of management, teacher or practitioner may seek a review of the work of an inspector or an inspection report and the procedures for such reviews are published in the document Procedure for Review of Inspections on Schools and Teachers under Section 13(9) of the Education Act, 1998. (September 2015).

One of the principles underpinning these procedure is that the concerns of teachers or boards are best resolved informally. For this reason, the Procedure for Review incorporates an Informal Review process as well as a Formal Review process. If the concern remains unresolved following the Informal Review process, the teacher, practitioner or board may request a Formal Review of the inspection.

A Formal Review involves the examination of the matter by an Internal Reviewer and an External Reviewer, and that that process must be exhausted before a report may be published.

In the case of the school concerned, a request for an Informal Review was received and processed. The person seeking the Informal Review was not satisfied that their concern was addressed in the Informal Review and they have sought a Formal Review of the inspection. The Formal Review has not concluded so it is not possible at this stage to state when the inspection report will be published.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (146)

Ruth Coppinger


146. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special schools established by his Department; and the year of establishment of each (details supplied). [12581/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

There are currently 114 recognised special schools funded by my Department which cater for children and young people with complex special educational needs from the age of 4 years until the end of the school year in which they reach their 18th year. There are also 7 Hospital special schools and 3 special schools in CAMHS Units.

Special schools are established as primary schools under the Education Act and under the Rules for National Schools. While the State provides for free primary education, schools, including special schools are established by patron bodies who define the ethos of the school and appoint the board of management to run the school on a day to day basis.

Of the 124 special schools:

- 55 are under the patronage of the catholic church,

- 26 are under the patronage of organisations funded under Section 38 of the Health Act (Directly Funded);

- 20 are under the patronage of organisations funded under Section 39 of the Health Act (Grant funded)

- 23 are under the patronage of other organisations.

No Special Schools have been established directly by my Department.

Information of the year of establishment is not readily available in my Department.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (147)

Brendan Howlin


147. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when it is proposed to erect two new classrooms at a school (details supplied); if the immediate payment of a grant towards the cost of having the existing rooms at the school renovated will be arranged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12602/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy may be aware that, in April, 2015, my Department approved an all-in devolved grant for the provision of 2 mainstream classrooms and a WC for assisted users for the school to which he refers.

However, the project proceeded to tender on the basis of works that were not approved for funding. The Board of Management of the school was advised that it was required to revert to the original approved works. The Board has agreed to progress the project accordingly.

The issue referred to by the Deputy is currently being reviewed by my Department. This review is taking longer than would normally be the case due to the complexities of the issues involved.

However, I can assure the Deputy that this assessment is close to finalisation. As soon as it is complete, my Department will be in direct contact with the school authority in order to progress the project as set out in the original approval issued in April 2015.

The Deputy also refers to an application for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme for flooring works at the school which was submitted by the School Authority. However, as the scope of the works were outside the terms of the scheme, the application was refused and the school was advised that the correct mechanism for delivery of works of this nature is the Summer Works Scheme.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (148)

Noel Rock


148. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application made by a school (details supplied) for the school to be rebuilt; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12604/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

A building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s 6 year Construction Programme.

A project brief has been prepared and includes an extension of 6 additional classrooms, split into 2 classes for Mild General Learning Disability, 2 classes for Moderate General Learning Disability and 2 classes for ASD. The total area of this extension is approx. 1,066m2. The scope of the brief includes for refurbishment of the existing buildings subject to verification by the Design Team on appointment.

The project will be delivered via the ADAPT programme which is an innovative delivery programme first introduced by my Department in 2016. It uses a professional external Project Manager to coordinate and drive the respective design teams on each project.

In this regard, a tender competition is in train to establish a Project Manager framework which is expected to be in place this month. Tenders have been returned and are currently being evaluated.

Whilst the Department must adhere to the Public Procurement rules for the appointment of consultant Design Teams the Building Unit will expedite this process in so far as possible.

All schools with projects on the ADAPT programme will be contacted shortly by my Department to provide an update on the status of their respective project.

Drug and Alcohol Task Forces

Questions (149)

Catherine Murphy


149. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his representation on the drugs and alcohol task force will be reinstated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12651/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

While my Department does not have representation on the Drug and Alcohol Task Forces, membership includes representation from the Education and Training Boards (ETBs). I have made arrangements for Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) to reply directly to the Deputy with information on the taskforces with ETB representation.

Along with other government departments, agencies and stakeholders, my Department is working to support full implementation of the national drug and alcohol strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery 2017-2025.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Questions (150)

Seán Barrett


150. Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the decision was taken to decrease enrolment opportunities for the early childhood care and education, ECCE, scheme to only once a year in September in view of the fact it used to be reopened in January and April also (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12668/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

This is a matter for the Department of Children & Youth Affairs which administers the ECCE scheme.