Question No. 219 answered with Question No. 196.

Education and Training Boards Establishment

Questions (220)

Fergus O'Dowd

Question:

220. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 161 of 2 April 2019, the number of times this project has required retendering; the cost to date of the planning and tendering process; the technical design related issues that are holding up the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16542/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to the local Education and Training Board (LMETB). 

A number of design issues have arisen with this project. These have included issues relating to the need for additional security features for the proposed building which became apparent at tender stage.  These required a change in brief with consequent design alterations. Currently, the capacity of the building is being reviewed to ensure it meets LMETB's needs into the future. Other design issues such as room sizes and uses form part of this review. The project will be retendered once this review is completed, but I can inform the Deputy that it has only previously been tendered once.

To date, approximately €260k has been spent on costs related to the project including design team fees, planning and statutory consent fees and surveys for the project.

School Accommodation

Questions (221, 222, 223)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

221. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied) for inclusion in the prefab replacement programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16548/19]

View answer

Brendan Ryan

Question:

222. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeline for inclusion of a school (details supplied) in the prefab replacement programme; when work on replacing prefab structures which have been in place at the school for over 30 years will begin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16549/19]

View answer

Brendan Ryan

Question:

223. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of replacing prefabs at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16550/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 221 to 223, inclusive, together.

I can confirm to the Deputy that an application has been received for capital funding, including the replacement of prefabricated structures, from the school in question.

The application is currently under consideration and as soon as a decision has been made, the school authority will be notified directly.

In general, once approval is given to a school for the replacement of prefabricated structures under my Department's Additional School Accommodation Scheme, a grant amount is determined based on the number and size of prefabricated structures to be replaced. The timing of when these projects go to construction is a matter for the school authority as all projects are devolved for delivery. The Additional School Accommodation Scheme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme, including those approved for the replacement of prefabs, can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie, this information is updated regularly.

School Accommodation

Questions (224)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

224. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications made to the prefab replacement programme; the number of applications approved to date; the names of the successful schools; the cost of each completed prefab replacement by school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16551/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's capital allocation, in 2019, is €941m of which €672m is being allocated for capital spending in primary and post-primary schools'. The school sector allocation will be expended primarily on the delivery of large scale projects and on the Additional School Accommodation Scheme.  Since mid-2018 all schools approved additional accommodation under my Department's, Additional School Accommodation Scheme, are also having all necessary prefabs replaced as part of their additional accommodation project.  The timing of when these projects go to construction is a matter for the school authority as all projects are devolved for delivery.

Information in relation to the current status of all school building projects is available on my Department's web-site, www.education.ie, and this information is updated on a regular basis.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 181.

Question No. 227 answered with Question No. 196.

Questions (225)

Brendan Ryan

Question:

225. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a site has been found for a school (details supplied); if not, the arrangements which will be in place for pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16552/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that my Department has reached agreement in principle with a landowner to acquire a suitable property on which it is intended to provide permanent accommodation for the school in question, subject to the views of the Planning Authority. 

It is anticipated that the conveyancing process in respect of this proposed acquisition will commence shortly and the acquisition is subject to satisfactory title and contract.

Question No. 226 answered with Question No. 181.
Question No. 227 answered with Question No. 196.

Teacher Training Provision

Questions (228)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

228. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide teachers with resources and training to administer individual education planning for children with Down's syndrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16567/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy effective planning ensures that the school’s resources are deployed efficiently and that they achieve the desired outcomes. 

Under the Education Act 1998, schools are under statutory obligations to “provide education to students which is appropriate to their abilities and needs” and to “ensure that the educational needs of all students, including those with a disability or other special educational needs, are identified and provided for”. 

Planning is a normal part of a teacher’s work and planning tools, like the student support file, have been created as a resource to help schools provide for their students.

Circulars 0013 and 0014 2017, which introduced the model for allocating special education teachers to schools, noted the importance of educational planning. This is in the context of ensuring that the children with the greatest level of need receive the greatest level of support.

The Circulars note that educational planning is an essential element of a whole-school approach to meeting pupils’ needs.

Guidelines for schools on educational planning and monitoring of outcomes through the Student Support File, are contained in the Guidelines for Primary and Post primary Schools: Supporting Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools.

All schools are therefore encouraged to use Education Plans or Student Support plans for children who are receiving additional teaching or care in schools, including children with Down syndrome.

Whereas there is not currently a statutory requirement for schools to provide a particular form of Individual Education Plan, it is evident that the majority of schools do use some form of education planning to plan and record the support that they provide for pupils with special educational needs. This is considered to be both beneficial for schools and children and is regarded as best practice. 

The ongoing provision of planning will represent a continuation of the good practice that is occurring in the majority of schools.

In relation to training and support for teachers in the provision of special education needs support, the Department provides for a comprehensive system of continuing professional development (CPD) for teachers in the area of special educational needs

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Regional Support Service, which has incorporated the Special Education Support Service (SESS), the National Behavioural Support Service (NBSS) and the Visiting Teacher Service for the Visually Impaired and Hearing Impaired, provides advice and support to schools on the education and inclusion of students with special educational needs, providing in-school support for teachers and continuing professional development for teachers.

It is also enhancing the multi-disciplinary capacity of the education system through providing access to expert knowledge in areas such as autism, speech and language and challenging behaviour. The SESS, has a role to enhance the quality of learning and teaching of students with special educational needs through the provision of CPD and support for teachers in mainstream schools, primary and post-primary special schools, and special classes.

Through applications to NCSE’s Supports Service, schools and individual teachers can access support in all areas of special education, including support in relation to individualised educational planning.

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) also provides guidance for schools in supporting children with special educational needs.

NEPS works with schools through the Continuum of Support framework.  NEPS psychologists can provide advice and guidance to Principals and teachers in relation to individual students needs and in the development of whole school approaches to support inclusion, participation and integration. 

NEPS psychologists provide advice and support around the identification of needs, the use of evidence-informed interventions and the monitoring of outcomes for individuals and groups of children. Psychologists can also advise and assist schools on effective whole-school practices, early intervention approaches and good deployment of Special Education Teaching supports.

This Government is committed to helping every child, particularly those with special educational needs, to fulfil their potential.

In 2018 my Department invested over €1.75 Billion in this area - 1/5 of my Department's budget and up 42% since 2011, at which point €1.24 Billion was invested. This increased investment has allowed the Government to increase the number of:

SNAs by 42%, from 10,575 in 2011 to 15,000 at present.

Special classes by 160% to over 1,450 at present, compared to 548 special classes in 2011.

Special education teachers by 37%, from 9,740 in 2011, to over 13,400 at present.

This Government will continue to prioritise investment in the area of special education support and I am confident that ongoing investment and reform will continue to see improvements made in this area.

Departmental Reviews

Questions (229)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

229. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the review into the design and build programme commenced; and when it will conclude. [16568/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has been engaged in preparatory work to initiate an Independent Review of its Design & Build Programme.  This includes consultation with the Office of the Attorney General on such a Review given ongoing legal processes around certain school buildings constructed by a contractor under the Design & Build Programme.  The Deputy will appreciate this is a prudent measure to ensure that the Independent Review does not compromise this process with any ongoing legal process.

Once any advice from the Attorney General has been fully considered, I expect to be able to provide an update on the progress of the Review.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Questions (230)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

230. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools in County Kildare that have no permanent site for which his Department is responsible for providing a permanent site. [16569/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the need for a school site can arise as a result of the establishment of a new school to meet demographic need or where an existing school site is no longer capable of meeting the school’s needs.  The latter is the position in the case of St Pauls’ Secondary School in Monasterevin and in the case of St Raphael’s Special School in Celbridge.  My Department is currently working to provide a permanent site for these schools.  

Two schools established in recent times in Celbridge, Co. Kildare in order to meet demographic need are both in interim accommodation.  They are Celbridge Community School and St. Patrick’s National School in Celbridge. My  Department is responsible also for providing a site for these schools .

Three new primary schools are due to be established in Co. Kildare: Maynooth and Leixlip in 2019 and Naas in 2021.  My Department is responsible for providing a permanent site for these schools also.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Questions (231)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

231. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools in County Laois that have no permanent site for which his Department is responsible for providing a permanent site. [16570/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In regard to site acquisitions in County Laois I can confirm my Department has current responsibility for the acquisition of one permanent school site: that for Dunamase College, Portlaoise.  This school was established to meet a demographic requirement in the town and has opened in interim accommodation.

A potential permanent site option for the school has been identified and negotiations with the landowner are at a very advanced stage.

Education and Training Boards Staff

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 196.

Questions (232)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

232. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason adult education tutors working for Education and Training Boards, ETBs, are not recognised as teachers despite having teaching qualifications and Teaching Council registration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16574/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The matter of regularisation of the terms and conditions of Adult Education Tutors is currently subject to discussions under the auspices of the Workplace Relations Commission so it would be inappropriate to comment on this matter at this time. 

Question No. 233 answered with Question No. 196.

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Questions (234)

John Brassil

Question:

234. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills if emergency works funding will be allocated to a school (details supplied) to allow for essential repairs to a roof; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16591/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers applied for funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme to carry out roof works to the school building. The works were deemed to be outside the scope of the scheme and the application was refused in that context. 

Subsequently, the school authority submitted an appeal to my Departments Planning and Building Unit for consideration. The appeal is currently been assessed and a decision will issue in due course. 

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (235)

Seán Haughey

Question:

235. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the interim accommodation solution arrived at for a new school (details supplied); when the new school will be enrolling pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16603/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department has appointed a Project Manager to assist in the procurement of interim school accommodation for the new schools opening in September 2019.  I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy will open in September 2019 in suitable interim accommodation. The enrolment of pupils is a matter for the Patron Body.

Schools Establishment

Questions (236)

Seán Haughey

Question:

236. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the patrons selected for schools (details supplied); if accommodation has been sourced for the schools; when the schools are expected to open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16607/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 16 classroom primary school and a 1,000 pupil post-primary school to be established in September 2019 to serve the area to which the Deputy refers.  

This announcement follows nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.  

The patronage processes for the schools to be established in 2019, including the schools referred to by the Deputy, are complete and patronage has been awared to Educate Together for both the primary and post-primary school.

Following on from the announcement, the locations for all of the schools will be determined as part of the site acquisition process. A potential site option has been identified for the primary school and discussions are ongoing with the landowner with a view to acquiring this site. My Department has reached agreement in principle with a landowner to acquire a suitable property on which it is intended to provide permanent accommodation for the post-primary school referred to by the Deputy, subject to the views of the Planning Authority.  It is anticipated that the conveyancing process in respect of this proposed acquisition will commence shortly and the acquisition is subject to satisfactory title and contract.

An initial phased start-up is envisaged for the new schools, which typically involves the use of interim accommodation. My Department has appointed a Project Manager to assist in the procurement of interim school accommodation for new schools opening in September 2019.  I can confirm that the schools referred to by the Deputy will open in September 2019 in suitable interim accommodation.