Apprenticeship Data

Question No. 375 answered with Question No. 367.

Questions (374)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

374. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the new apprenticeship programmes approved since 2014; the title of each; the year each was approved; the number of apprentices currently participating in the programme in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19750/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

To date there are 20 new apprenticeship programmes in operation which have being approved by the Apprenticeship Council. A further 33 programmes, which have also been approved by the Apprenticeship Council are due to get under way in 2019 and 2020. Details of all these programmes are set out in the following tabular statements.

New Apprenticeships 2019

Population at end:

Apr-19

Total

Year of Approval

Auctioneering Total

55

Auctioneering and Property Services

55

2018

Biopharmachem Total

15

Laboratory Analyst

0

2018

Laboratory Technician

15

2018

Electrical Total

56

Industrial Electrical Eng

56

2016

Engineering Total

167

Manufacturing Engineering (Level 6)

75

2017

Manufacturing Engineering (Level 7)

55

2017

Polymer Processing Tech

37

2017

Original Equipment and Manufacture (OEM)

0

2019

Financial Total

411

Accounting Technician

169

2017

Insurance Practice

191

2016

International Financial Services Associate

27

2017

International Financial Services Specialist

24

2017

Hospitality Total

139

Butcher

14

2018

Chef de Partie

27

2018

Commis Chef

98

2017

Sous Chef

0

2018

ICT Total

89

ICT Associate Professional Network Technician

38

2018

ICT Associate Professional Software Developer

51

2018

Cybersecurity Associate

0

2019

Logistics Total

26

Logistics

26

2018

Grand Total

958

Apprenticeship due to roll out in 2019

1

Advanced Quantity Surveyor

2

Applied Horticulture

3

Arboriculture

4

Baker

5

Bar Manager

6

CGI Technical Artist (Animation, Games, VFX)

7

Engineering Services Management (2015)

8

Farm Technician

9

Geo-Driller

10

Hairdressing

11

Healthcare Assistant

12

HGV Driver (2015)

13

Lean Sigma Manager

14

Manufacturing Data Integration Engineer

15

Precision Machinist and Quality Control (2015)

16

Retail Supervisor (2015)

17

Sales Associate

18

Scaffolding

19

Science Aircraft Asset Management (2015)

20

Sports Turf Management

21

Stud Farm Management

22

Supply Chain Associate

23

Supply Chain Manager

24

Supply Chain Specialist

25

Telecommunications Field Technician

26

Wind Turbine Maintenance (2015)

Apprenticeship due to roll out in 2020

27

Farm Manager

28

Executive Chef - 2015

29

International Financial Services Advanced Specialist (2015)

30

Principal Engineer

31

Recruitment Executive

32

Software Solutions Architect

33

Equipment Systems Engineer

Question No. 375 answered with Question No. 367.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Question No. 377 answered with Question No. 367.

Questions (376)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

376. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the actions taken to support greater participation of young women and other under-represented groups on apprenticeship programmes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19752/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

This Government is committed to making our national apprenticeship more accessible to under-represented groups including women. As set out in the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland, SOLAS has completed a review on pathways to participation in apprenticeship. The purpose of the review is to ensure that our national apprenticeship system is more reflective of the range and diversity of our population, more inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities and that apprenticeship opportunities are more readily accessible to all. The review is available on the SOLAS website www.solas.ie.

Work is already under way in many of the areas identified for action and SOLAS will lead implementation of the actions, working closely with apprenticeship partners and stakeholders, in particular employers, education and training providers and apprentices themselves.

The areas highlighted for action include setting disability and socio economic targets, incorporating the national census questions on disability and ethnicity into apprentice registration as a means of gathering more robust data on participation and examining options to expand the bursary which is currently available to employers who employ females in craft apprenticeships.

Increasing practical supports for apprentices from under-represented groups, creating new pathways via pre-apprenticeship courses around the country and promoting diverse pathways to participation in apprenticeship in the Generation Apprenticeship campaign are also identified as areas for action. Women already feature prominently in all aspects of the Generation Apprenticeship campaign, where there is a specific focus on encouraging women and girls to consider apprenticeship as a means of launching or developing their careers.

As recommended in the review a new employer portal initiative which will provide capability to approved employers to advertise apprenticeships, as well as other value-added services is now live on the SOLAS website. To date over 100 employers have registered.

In addition, the recently published review of career guidance encourages the consideration of apprenticeship options by all second level students regardless of gender.

Question No. 377 answered with Question No. 367.

Appointments to State Boards

Questions (378)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

378. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has made State board appointments in the past three years in circumstances in which he has reappointed a person who has already served two full terms contrary to the advice in section 13.2 of the guidelines on appointments to State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19754/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested by the Deputy, concerning state board appointments, for the timeline sought by the Deputy is being collated, and I will arrange to have it forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

As the Deputy will be aware, individuals may be nominated for appointment to State Boards of bodies under the aegis of my Department by various organisations arising from the terms in the relevant legislation regarding the Body concerned and accordingly board appointments, made by me, are not in all cases made at my discretion.

School Services Staff

Questions (379)

Joan Burton

Question:

379. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of school secretaries who have been employed directly by his Department in each of the past five years; if principals can apply for Department-paid status for their secretaries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19792/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A Scheme was initiated in 1978/79 for the employment of Clerical Officers in primary and post primary schools.

Currently there are 153 primary and 110 post primary whole time equivalent Clerical Officers (School Secretaries) employed in schools under the 1978/79 Scheme and paid through my Department’s payroll.

This 1978/79 scheme has been superseded by a more extensive capitation grant Scheme. The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991. The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services under the grant scheme.

It is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the grant funding for caretaking or secretarial purposes, any staff taken on to support those functions are employees of individual schools. Specific responsibility for the pay and conditions rests with the school.

On a related matter the Deputy may also be interested to know that I have recently relaxed the moratorium for those C&C and ETB schools with enrolments of 700 and more which allow them to employ an additional School Secretaries up to a maximum of two per school. There are 91 schools in the C&C and ETB Sector who meet this criteria, based on the information currently available to this Department. This is an initial step and has taken immediate effect.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (380)

John Curran

Question:

380. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made in the delivery of extension work at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19803/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of Architectural Planning – Stage 2(b) - Detailed Design which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured to date.

Following the appointment of the replacement Quantity Surveyor, the Design Team is proceeding to complete work on the Stage 2(b) submission. As part of Stage 2(b) the Design Team is required to ensure that the new school building is a Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations.

Upon receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) report my Department will revert to the school with regard to the further progression of this project at that time.

Site Acquisitions

Questions (381)

John Curran

Question:

381. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made in identifying and securing a site for a new school building for a school (details supplied) in County Dublin; if this project is now included on the schools building work programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19804/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm my Department is currently in the process of acquiring additional land owned by South Dublin County Council adjoining the site of this school and the additional land offers the potential to enhance current facilities and support future development. There is ongoing engagement with officials from South Dublin County Council on this matter. In regard to inclusion on the building works programme, the school's future accommodation needs will be considered on completion of the current site acquisition process.

Industrial Relations

Questions (382)

Joan Burton

Question:

382. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reimburse members of a union (details supplied) who suffered financial penalties amounting to a total of €15 million in wages to thousands of teachers as a result of industrial action they took in their campaign for equal pay for teachers recruited pre and post-2011; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19844/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As a result of the ASTI's industrial action in refusing to carry out the Croke Park Hours between July 2016 and June 2017 and the union's consequent withdrawal from the Public Service Agreements, ASTI members were subject to a number of pay and other measures under the terms of the FEMPI legislation.

The ASTI have raised this issue with my Department and my officials will engage with the ASTI on this matter.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (383)

Joan Burton

Question:

383. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding his plans for a new secondary school in the western area of Blanchardstown; if an appropriate site has been identified; the timeline for the delivery of the new school; if proposals regarding the patronage of the new school have been considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19845/19]

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 800 pupil post-primary school (to be established in 2020) to serve the Blanchardstown_West_Dublin15 and BlanchardstownVge_Dublin15 school planning areas as a regional solution.

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.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

The patronage process for primary and post-primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence in 2019, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

My Department has identified potential locations for the school and is currently working to undertake a detailed assessment of these. It is not, unfortunately, possible to give an indicative timeline for the delivery of the new school at this point. Once the location has been determined, the project to deliver the school accommodation can advance into the architectural planning process.

National Educational Psychological Service

Questions (384)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

384. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps taken to assist facilities and schools in a time of great tragedy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14272/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I would inform the Deputy that my Department's National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides guidelines, resource materials and support for schools to enable them to deal with certain traumatic events which can adversely affect pupils and school staff. The guidelines "Responding to Critical Incidents: Guidelines for Schools and resource Materials for Schools" refer to preventive approaches that schools can adopt in creating a safe and supportive environment. It also outlines how schools can plan for crises.

A Critical Incident is defined as an incident, or series of events, that overwhelms the normal coping mechanism of the school. The kinds of critical incidents experienced by schools includes suicide or suspected suicide, death due to violence, accidental death including road traffic accidents and drowning, and death through illness of a member of the school community. The ultimate aim of the process is to return the school to normality.

The Guidelines focus upon alerting schools to planning processes, structures and actions which will better allow them to cope with a traumatic incident. In relation to suicide advice is also given on prevention and positive mental health stratagems and approaches.

The Guidelines offer a practical step by step guide to schools in how to respond effectively when a critical incident occurs in order to minimise the potential traumatic effect on the school community. It includes templates, advice and information on how to set up a Critical Incident Management Team and develop a Critical Incident Management Plan.

The Guidelines were updated in 2016 and sent out to schools with new or revised information and advice, including:

- Revised section on suicide / suspected suicide including information on suicide prevention and what schools need to do; information on preventing suicide contagion; how to compassionately deal with a suicidal student returning to school after an attempt

- Information on suicide risk and guidance where student expresses suicide ideation

- Teachers helping students in time of crisis listen, protect, connect, model and teach

- Guidance on social media use

- Useful Websites and Helplines for accessing resources

- Some additional information, including a comprehensive FAQ guide.

During a critical incident NEPS psychologists will also, at the specific invitation of school authorities, attend at the schools following such incidents to offer direct advice and assistance to school staff and pupils. Depending on the nature, context and severity of the traumatic incident NEPS staff will also assist school authorities in the co-ordination of supports with broader community based services. All such requests are responded to, most usually by the psychologist normally assigned to the affected school but also in some cases, depending on the particular context, by a colleague within the NEPS region.

For data purposes NEPS records critical incidents at three response levels:

Level 1 - an incident which involves a telephone response to the school but where no on-site presence of NEPS staff is requested,

Level 2 – where the school in their contact with NEPS request the presence of NEPS personnel on-site to advise and assist,

Level 3 – events which have NEPS personnel on-site but are of a magnitude that involves a broader community response from other support services such as the HSE.

School Placement

Questions (385)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

385. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will report on the availability of places in primary schools in Finglas, Dublin 11, for children with ASD; and if he will address a matter in relation to a person (details supplied). [19853/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I want to assure the Deputy and Parents that concerns regarding a shortage of appropriate school places for next September are being taken very seriously.

My Department Officials and the NCSE are actively engaging with local schools and school patron bodies to address this urgent and important issue.

I have asked the NCSE to keep in regular contact with the Parents of the children concerned and advise them of progress.

Ensuring that every child has a suitable placement available to them from September is a key priority for me and my Department.

As the Deputy's question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply.

National Educational Psychological Service

Questions (386)

Michael McGrath

Question:

386. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a child (details supplied) in County Cork with ASD will receive a NEPS assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19933/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to maximise positive outcomes for these pupils. NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment.

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention.

I have made enquiries in the matter in relation to the pupil instanced in the Deputies and can confirm that he has not been raised for assessment with NEPS by the school.

I would advise therefore that if the parents of the child in question, have concerns in relation to his educational, social or emotional development they should raise them, in the first instance, with the Principal of the school he/she is attending, with a view to Principal discussing the situation with the assigned NEPS psychologist or local NEPS service.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (387)

Robert Troy

Question:

387. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of a secondary school and multipurpose communal building in Kinnegad, County Westmeath. [19935/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). 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.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school in Kinnegad (which is located in the Killucan school planning area), the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular would have regard for the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

Residential Institutions Statutory Fund

Questions (388)

Catherine Connolly

Question:

388. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the outstanding contributions from religious congregations amounting to €6.37 million to the residential institutions statutory fund will be collected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19953/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In accordance with the provisions of the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund Act 2012 cash contributions offered voluntarily by religious congregations in the aftermath of the publication of the report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (the "Ryan Report") are available to meet costs incurred by Caranua (the Residential Institutions Statutory Fund) in supporting former residents and in meeting that organisation’s operational costs and costs associated with the independent appeals process. Under the 2012 Act the maximum amount of contributions (excluding additional interest) that may be made available to Caranua is €110 million.

To date a total of €105 million, comprising contributions of some €103.6 million plus added interest of €1.382 million, has been received by my Department and placed in an investment account established by the National Treasury Management Agency. This funding is available to Caranua.

A further €6.4 million in cash contributions is thus required to achieve the maximum amount of €110 million referred to above. The balance of the voluntary cash contribution offered by the Congregation of Christian Brothers, amounting to €6.8 million, is expected to be received over the coming months.

Special Educational Needs

Questions (389)

Frank O'Rourke

Question:

389. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an urgent meeting will take place between his officials, parents, a school (details supplied) and the NCSE; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19957/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs.

The NCSE team of local Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs), who are locally based, are available to assist and advice parents whose children have special needs.

The NCSE has informed my Department that the local SENO is actively engaging with the Parents and the school referenced by the Deputy. Following on from this engagement the NCSE will arrange a meeting if required.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (390)

Gerry Adams

Question:

390. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is no breastfeeding provision for special needs assistants in schools; if his attention has been further drawn to the fact that teachers have entitlements to breastfeeding breaks; if this matter will be rectified; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20016/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Circular 17/2013 issued by my Department, deals with the Maternity Protection entitlements, including provision for breastfeeding, for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools.

Paragraph 14.1 of Circular 17/2013 states:

" Within a twenty six week period after the birth of the child, a special needs assistant who has returned to work is entitled to one hour per day for the purpose of breastfeeding. The time off, without loss of pay, may be taken as follows:

(a) one break of 60 minutes, or

(b) two breaks of 30 minutes each, or

(c) three breaks of 20 minutes each.”

Following consultation with school and staff representatives my Department published Circular 60/2018 which amended the entitlement to breastfeeding breaks for teachers so that the breaks could be taken for a two year period after the birth of the child. Consideration is now being given to a similar provision for SNAs.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (391)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

391. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions in place to deal with the shortage of first-year secondary places for those who are on waiting lists in the Kilcoole and Greystones area in County Wicklow; the status of the provision of a new secondary school in Greystones; if the process will be accelerated in view of the high demand for places and the stress placed on parents who do not have a place for their child; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20025/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced plans in April 2018 for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including a new 800 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2021 to serve the Kilcoole and Greystones school planning areas as a regional solution.

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.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process. 

The patronage process for the remaining schools, including the new post-primary school referred to by the Deputy, will also be run at a later date, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website (http://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

My Department is currently examining potential site options and discussions with the landowner in respect of a potential site acquisition are currently ongoing. Due to commercial sensitivities relating to site acquisitions generally, I am not in a position to provide further details at this time. Once a suitable site has been acquired my Department will be in a position to progress the project concerned into the architectural planning process.

As the Deputy may be aware, a major building project for St. David's Holy Faith Secondary School in Greystones is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning and will provide an extension and refurbishment to the existing school along with a new two-storey Physical Education Hall and ancillary accommodation to accommodate a long term projected enrolment of 750 pupils. This will provide an additional 180 post-primary places in the Greystones school planning area.

In addition, a major building project for Coláiste Craobh Abhann in Kilcoole will provide an extension and refurbishment to the existing school to accommodate a long term projected enrolment of 800 pupils, providing an additional 85 post-primary places in the Kilcoole school planning area.

Special Educational Needs

Questions (392)

Margaret Murphy O'Mahony

Question:

392. Deputy Margaret Murphy O'Mahony asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide a report on the availability of places in primary schools in an area (details supplied) for children with ASD; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20028/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make application to the National Council for Special education (NCSE) to establish a special class.

The NCSE, an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO) may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

160 new special classes have been opened for the 2018/19 school year, which means there are now 1,459 special classes in place, compared to 548 in 2011.

There are 37 special schools and 237 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Co. Dublin. Of these, 17 are ASD early intervention classes, 139 are primary ASD classes and 41 are post primary ASD classes.

The number of ASD special classes in Co. Dublin have increased from 66 in 2011/2012 to 197 in 2018/2019.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) who are locally based are available to assist and advise parents whose children have special needs. They also assist and advise schools in making decisions in this area.

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved. This process is ongoing and the NCSE are actively engaging with schools in relation to establishing ASD classes where there is an identified need for the 2019/2020 school year.

As the Deputy's question relates to a specific area of Dublin, I have forwarded it to the National Council for Special Education for direct reply.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (393)

James Browne

Question:

393. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a new school to cater for an area (details supplied); if this school will now be located outside the catchment area; if so, the reason for the decision; if this is a final decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20049/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department appointed a Project Manager in July 2018 to assist with the work of prioritising the procurement of interim accommodation for 17 new schools due to be established in September 2019 which includes the school to serve the area to which the Deputy refers.

Numerous locations within the school planning area were considered in relation to the interim accommodation for the school but could not be secured due to lack of suitability, availability or prohibitive zoning issues.

Therefore, in order to ensure that the school could open in September 2019 as announced it was necessary to look for interim accommodation in adjoining school planning areas. On 15 March 2019 a planning application was submitted to Fingal County Council for a location at Suttonians Rugby Club, John McDowell Memorial Grounds, Station Road, Sutton, Dublin 13, D13 AH97. The notification of decision to grant planning permission was issued by the local authority on 2 May, 2019.

The new primary school will open in September 2019 in suitable interim accommodation pending delivery of its permanent building.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (394)

James Browne

Question:

394. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding a system under which new schools are approved, particularly in Dublin; the criteria for establishing a catchment area; the number of schools functioning in temporary locations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20050/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Where data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). 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. In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.

Using school planning area boundaries within my Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) allows data within those boundaries, including data for enrolments in schools, child benefit and other relevant data to be added to the mapping information, grouped and analysed.

In most areas, school planning areas were based on traditional school catchment areas where all primary schools were assigned to a post-primary feeder area (typically a population centre or town), containing one or more post-primary schools. These school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required in that school planning area.

The question of enrolment in individual schools is the responsibility of the managerial authority of those schools. It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act 1998 and the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018.

All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise enrolments from within the school planning area which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area, rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established.

My Department's main responsibility is to ensure that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all pupils seeking places. Parents have the right to choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.

As the Deputy is aware the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, which was signed into law by the President on the 18 July 2018, is an important piece of legislation which will introduce a more parent-friendly, equitable and consistent approach to how school admissions policy operates for the almost 4,000 primary and post-primary schools in this country and a fair and balanced school admission process for all pupils.

There are currently 15 primary and 19 post-primary schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand which are wholly located in interim accommodation, pending the delivery of permanent school buildings.

Legislative Measures

Questions (395)

Catherine Martin

Question:

395. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the remaining sections of the Education (Admissions to Schools) Act 2018, in particular sections 9(61), (62) and (63) will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20055/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 was signed into law by the President on 18 July 2018.

The overall objective of the Act is to provide a new framework for school enrolment that is designed to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that the way in which schools decide on applications for admission is structured, fair and transparent.

Section 9 of the Act sets out the provisions for the School Admissions process for schools. A number of subsections of section 9 - section 64 which prohibits schools from charging admission fees and section 66 which deals with co-operation between boards - were commenced in 2018.

The remaining sections of the Act require regulations. My Department is currently in the process of consultation with the Education Partners on the regulations that are required to be put in place alongside the commencement of a number of the remaining sections of the Act.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (396)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

396. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the review of the outstanding moneys owed to contractors following the last building project for a school (details supplied) will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20069/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The review of the matter referred to by the Deputy has taken longer than expected. However, a letter can be expected to issue to the school very shortly in that respect.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (397)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

397. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a new building for the relocation of a school (details supplied); the funding which has been allocated for this project; the estimated completion date for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20087/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding has been approved for the building project at the school to which he refers. I can also inform him that Donegal Education and Training Board has assisted the Board of Management with the appointment of a Design Team for this project.

As it is a devolved project, the responsibility for the delivery and completion of the project is now a matter for the Board of Management of the school.

Special Educational Needs

Questions (398)

Bríd Smith

Question:

398. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the role of his Department in the provision of supports, including SNAs for children with autism, in primary and secondary schools; his plans to enhance the supports available; his plans to ensure children have access to such supports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20117/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Enabling children with Special Educational Needs including Autism to receive an education appropriate to their needs is a priority for Government.

At present, the Department of Education and Skills is investing heavily in supporting our children with special educational needs, with €1.8 bn being spent annually, about €1 in every 5 of the education budget.

Investment in this area includes an allocation of over €300 million towards providing additional resources specifically to support students with Autism in schools. Since 2011, the number of ASD special classes has increased by over 260% from 330 in 2011 to 1,196 across the country now. In addition, 124 Special schools provide for children with Autism and very complex special needs.

The number of Special education teachers has increased by 37% from 9,740 in 2011, to over 13,400, Special Needs Assistants by 42%, from 10,575 in 2011 to 15,000, as well as 83 SENOs.

The policy of my Department is that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

The greater proportion of children with ASD attend mainstream class, where they may access additional supports if required.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating education provision for children with special needs. My Department seeks resources for allocation to schools as part of the annual budgetary process.

The NCSE allocates a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of all children, including children with Autism, qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave a school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

My Department’s policy is to ensure that every child who is assessed as needing SNA support will receive access to such support. In line with this policy, Budget 2019 provided for an additional 950 SNA posts to be made available this year, bringing the total number of SNA posts available for allocation by the end of this year to 15,950.

All mainstream schools are also provided with special education teachers, based on the school enrolment numbers and the profiled needs of their school.

There are currently over 13,400 special education teachers allocated to mainstream schools, which represents an increase of 37% since 2011.

The role of the special education teacher is to support the mainstream class teachers in school to provide additional teaching support for those pupils who have special educational needs or additional learning needs in school. Children who have special educational needs, including children with Autism, can therefore receive additional teaching support in school from special education teachers.

Special class placements are provided in mainstream schools for students with ASD and more complex needs, where it has been demonstrated that he/she is unable to learn effectively in a mainstream class for most or all of the school day even with appropriate supports.

Special classes for students with ASD are staffed with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have a minimum of two SNAs for every class of 6 children.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation. There are standard arrangements in place for the funding, design and delivery of these projects.

Other resources which are provided to schools to support children with Special Educational Needs including Autism include the following:

- Professional development for teachers

- The National Educational Psychological Service

- Assistive technology

- Access to the Special School transport scheme

- Access to special equipment and furniture where required

- Enhanced Capitation grants at primary level

- Adapted school buildings/Additional accommodation

- ICT Grant for new classes

- Start Up grant for new classes

- Access to the extended school year scheme (July Provision).

The NCSE has published guidelines for schools on setting up and organising Special Classes, which are available to download from www.ncse.ie. The guidelines include information on resources which may be provided to schools with special classes and links to information on the how funding is allocated.