School Patronage

Questions (399)

Bríd Smith

Question:

399. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure children and students in the Dublin 8 and 12 areas have access to a secondary Educate Together facility; the rationale for excluding students from these areas from the facility at Harold’s Cross; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20118/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, in 2018 a new 1,000 pupil co-educational, multi-denominational school under the patronage of Educate Together was established to serve the Dublin 8 school planning area, along with the Dublin 2-Dublin 4 and Dublin 6-Clonskeagh school planning areas as a regional solution.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including new post-primary schools for areas adjacent to Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 as follows:

- a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 as a regional solution to serve the Dublin 6-Clonskeagh and Dublin 6W school planning areas; and

- a new 600 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2021 to serve the Dublin 2-Dublin 4 school planning area.

These new schools will reduce pressure on schools in the adjacent school planning areas, including the Dublin 8 and 12 areas. I understand that the existing schools in the Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 school planning areas have capacity to accommodate demand in the area at present.

The requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required, in the first instance, to prioritise pupil applications from within the designated school planning area(s) which the school was established to serve. This does not preclude schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area where they have sufficient places.

The Deputy may wish to note that patronage model of the new post-primary school to serve the Dublin 6-Clonskeagh and Dublin 6W school planning areas has not yet been decided. A patronage process for the new school will be undertaken later this year and will be open to all patron bodies.

Separately, I understand that City of Dublin ETB and Educate Together have started discussions in relation to possible partnerships with a view to Educate Together involvement at second level in existing schools in both the Dublin 12 and Dublin 7 areas. I am supportive of this initiative which has the potential to add to and enhance the availability of additional choice in the area and my Department is engaging with the bodies concerned in this regard. This represents an opportunity to increase diversity of provision in existing schools in areas where a new school is not required.

Gaelscoil Issues

Questions (400)

Bríd Smith

Question:

400. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will meet with parents and students who are campaigning for Gaelscoileanna in Dublin 10 and 12 in view of the fact that these are the only areas in Dublin without such a facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20119/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In order to ensure every student has access to a school place, my Department establishes and supports new schools where a demographic need for a new school has been identified.

Where a new school is required to meet a demographic need, my Department runs a patronage process, open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, along with their preference for the language of instruction (Irish or English) of the new school, 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. It is through this process that a new primary school can be an Irish-medium Gaelscoil or an English-medium school.

In order to determine where new schools are required to meet a demographic need, my Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. The GIS uses data from a range of sources and with this information my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post-primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed. As part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area.

Following completion of nationwide demographic exercises, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) to meet demographic needs.

While a new school wasn’t announced for the Ballyfermot, D10 and Dolphin's Barn, D12 school planning areas, the demographic data is being kept under ongoing review by my Department to take account of updated data.

The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process also provides an opportunity to increase the number of Gaelscoileanna nationwide. The process, which involves the live transfer of existing schools, is designed to provide additional multi-/non-denominational schools in Irish or English and an opportunity is available to English-medium schools seeking to make a transition to Irish-medium provision in that context, in line with the expressed wishes of parents and the local school community.

The Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity Process provides that school communities can directly engage with their school patron regarding transfer of patronage to become a multi-denominational school, including a multi-denominational Irish-medium school. Any school which is seeking a transfer of patronage should contact their school patron directly.

As the foregoing outlines the position with regard to the establishment of schools, the group may consider liaising with existing school patrons or school communities in the area in the first instance to explore whether there is potential for a English-medium school in the area to transfer to an Irish-medium Gaelscoil.

Student Accommodation

Questions (401)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

401. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which it is expected to provide student accommodation on site to facilitate Maynooth and other universities nationally with particular reference to focus on meeting student accommodation needs at reasonable rent levels, which can have the dual benefit of assisting the general housing market and education system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20127/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Student Accommodation Strategy was launched in July 2017 by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O'Connor T.D. and Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English T.D. and includes eight key targets and 27 actions to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation and an increase in take-up of digs accommodation.

The Strategy includes policy measures to increase the supply of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), including addressing the planning and development finance aspects in assembling new development projects.

Amendments to planning regulations under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 were commenced in July 2017 and the Act introduced a new fast-track planning procedure for strategic housing developments, which includes student accommodation projects containing 200 or more bed spaces. This Act also provides for Higher Education Institutes to borrow from the Housing Finance Agency for the purposes of the development of PBSA.

As of the end of Q1 2019:

- 6,362 PBSA bed spaces have been completed

- 6,154 further bed spaces are under construction

- 6,450 additional bed spaces have been granted planning permission

- 2,210 are at the planning permission application stage

Of the above figures, a total of 1,079 PBSA bed spaces have been delivered by Higher Education Institutions since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland in July 2016 (UCD-354; MU-296; NUIG-429). In addition to this there are 924 bed spaces in development (UCD) with plans approved for a further 1,194 bed spaces for the same institution.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (402, 403)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

402. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding development at a campus (details supplied) with particular reference to the need to restore activity on the site with a view to meeting the schedules insofar as possible with particular reference to the opening date for the schools involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20129/19]

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Bernard Durkan

Question:

403. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a development (details supplied) is likely to be completed; the full extent and scale of the facilities to be provided thereon; the extent to which the temporary accommodation sought by schools is likely to be provided in the interim; if a target date has been set for the completion of all works and the opening of the two schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20130/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 402 and 403 together.

The Deputy will be aware that the project to which he refers has been devolved for delivery to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB). It remains the case that the project will deliver two new post primary schools catering for 1,000 pupils each and a stand-alone sports hall which will be shared between the schools, all of which is being delivered on a single site

The contractor who is currently on site completing the external fabric of the buildings is expected to complete this work shortly. Tender documents for the completion of the remaining works have issued to the relevant short-listed contractors. It is fully expected that the buildings will be available for occupation prior to September 2020. I can also confirm to the Deputy that approval has been given for temporary accommodation to meet the needs of the schools until such time as the new building project is completed.

Gaelscoil Issues

Questions (404)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

404. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the provision of a Gaelcholáiste in north County Kildare; the extent to which previous arrangements are proceeding with a view to meeting the requirements as previously envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20131/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Gaelcholáiste Maigh Nuad will be established in September 2019 as a multi-denominational Irish-medium Gaelcholáiste under the patronage of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board. The ETB is in the process of putting in place the necessary arrangements with a view to opening the school in September 2019 and has appointed a school Principal. My Department has approved temporary accommodation to facilitate the establishment of the Gaelcholáiste.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (405)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

405. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which all primary and post-primary school accommodation requirements in Maynooth, County Kildare, are being co-ordinated with a view to meeting the plans set out by the various school authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20132/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under project Ireland 2040, the Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands.

In 2019, the capital allocation for the school sector amounts to €622 m.

Construction activity in 2018 and 2019 will deliver approx. 40,000 additional and replacement school places, the replacement of over 600 prefabs which is a key element of our prefab replacement programme.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement followed 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, on 26 April last, I announced the establishment of a further national school in Ashbourne which will open in September 2019.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects, including those in County Kildare, being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (406)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

406. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the proposed extension, upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary and post-primary level in Kilcock, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium to short term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20133/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding was allocated to Scoil Dara, Kilcock in 2018 under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme. The allocation is for the provision of 9 Mainstream classrooms, 9 WC's, 1 Assisted Users WC, 2 Science Labs and Prep Area and 1 x 119 m2 Arts and Crafts Room.

Additionally, Coole National School, Kilcock, was allocated funding in 2019 under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme for the provision of an additional mainstream classroom with en-suite toilets.

These projects have been devolved for delivery to the school authorities. It is now a matter for the Boards of Management of the relevant schools to advance them.

The major building project at St Joseph's National School, Kilcock is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design. This includes the application for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

Authorisation to recommence the pre-qualification process has recently been issued to the Design Team and school. When the pre-qualification process is complete the project will then be progressed to tender stage. Finally, I can also advise the Deputy that these projects are being delivered in the area in question to meet identified demographic demands.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (407)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

407. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding proposed extension, upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary and post-primary level in Clane, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium to short term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20134/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's School Building Programme continues to address the challenges posed by the significant bulge in pupil enrolments going through our schools. This has seen a significant expansion in the rate of provision of new school places. The School Building Programme details the school projects that are being progressed through the architectural planning process, including those schools in County Kildare.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the major building project for the boys primary school in Clane is currently at Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design. The pre-qualification process to select a short list of suitable contractors has been completed and the Design Team is currently carrying out a final review of tender documentation. Once this work is complete the Department will be in contact with the Board of Management with a view to progressing the project to tender stage. A tender stage normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete.

My Department has also received an application, for additional accommodation from a post-primary school in Clane, once the assessment process has been completed officials from my Department will contact the school authority directly. 

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (408)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

408. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which plans are in hand or in progress to meet in full the primary and second level education needs in terms of extension, upgrading and replacement at the various existing or new schools in Naas, County Kildare, with particular reference to the identification of precise proposals in each case with a view to ensuring adequate accommodation in line with the demographics of the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20135/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

I wish to advise the Deputy that building projects are being delivered in the area in question to meet an identified demographic demand as outlined by the Deputy. In respect of Naas Community College, tender documents have issued to the short-listed contractors for the project. Construction is currently ongoing on a permanent 32 classroom school for the Mercy Convent, Naas. Subject to no issues arising, it is envisaged that the project will  be completed in the third quarter of 2019.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (409)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

409. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which he expects to be in a position to meet in full the requirements as set out by the authorities at the various primary and post-primary schools in Celbridge, County Kildare, with particular reference to the need for a precise response and determination in each case with a view to addressing in full the requirements as set out by the various school authorities or patrons; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20136/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under project Ireland 2040, the Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands.

In 2019, the capital allocation for the school sector amounts to €622 m.

Construction activity in 2018 and 2019 will deliver approx. 40,000 additional and replacement school places, the replacement of over 600 prefabs which is a key element of our prefab replacement programme.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement followed 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, on 26 April last, I announced the establishment of a further national school in Ashbourne which will open in September 2019.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects, including those in County Kildare, being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

School Patronage

Questions (410, 420)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

410. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which patronage changes in respect of various primary and post-primary schools throughout County Kildare have been advanced in line with expectations; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20137/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

420. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the degree to which patronage of post-primary and national schools throughout County Kildare has been agreed in accordance with the wishes of the various authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20147/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 410 and 420 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including three new primary schools to be established in Kildare, as follows:

- 8-classroom primary schools to be established in September 2019 to serve the Leixlip school planning area

- 8-classroom primary schools to be established in September 2019 to serve the Maynooth school planning area

- 8-classroom primary schools to be established in September 2021 to serve the Naas school planning area

These announcements follow 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 and their preferred language of the school (Irish or English), 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.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) website 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 and language of instruction. The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG).

The patronage process for 12 primary schools to be established in 2019, including for the two primary schools to be established in Leixlip and Maynooth, have been completed.

- Leixlip - English-medium school under the patronage of Educate Together

- Maynooth - Irish-medium school under the patronage of An Foras Pátrúnachta.

Updates in relation to further patronage processes, including that for the primary school to be established in Naas in 2021, will be announced on the OPPS website and the Department's website (www.education.ie) in due course.

Additionally, I am pleased to confirm to the Deputy that Gaelcholáiste Maigh Nuad will be established in September 2019 as a multi-denominational Irish-medium Community College under the patronage of Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB).

The Programme for Government commits to increasing the number of multi-/non-denominational schools to 400 such schools by 2030. As the Deputy will be aware, my Department has developed the Schools Reconfiguration for Diversity process which is a new process to deliver on this commitment through patronage transfer, in line with the choices of local parents and school communities.

The Identification Phase is currently underway in 16 areas nationwide. Although none of the 16 initial areas in this pilot roll-out are in Kildare, it is envisaged that a second round of town selections and surveys of pre-school parents will be organised when the outcomes of the initial round of pilot surveys have been assessed and any necessary adjustments made in the Schools Reconfiguration process.

The Schools Reconfiguration process, which involves the transfer of live schools, has the potential to significantly increase patronage diversity in our school system.

In addition to the main provisions of this process, the “early movers” provision of this process enables school communities which have already decided to seek a transfer of patronage (independent of the survey process) to request that their existing patron makes an application to the Minister for a direct transfer of patronage under section 8 of the Education Act. I encourage any school community which is seeking a transfer of patronage to make contact with their school patron in this regard.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (411)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

411. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding proposals to replace the primary school at Newtown, Enfield, County Kildare, with particular reference to the need to address demographic challenges in the area; the timescale in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20138/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding was allocated to Newtown NS, Enfield under my Department's Additional Accommodation Scheme in 2018 for the provision of 4 Mainstream Classrooms with en-suite toilets, 2 SET Rooms and an Assisted Users WC.

The project has been devolved for delivery to the school authority so it is now a matter for the Board of Management to advance the project. This project is being delivered in the area in question to meet an identified demographic demand.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (412)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

412. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which works at a school (details supplied) are progressing in accordance with the requirements as set out by the school authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20139/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A grant for the school, to which the Deputy refers, was approved in 2015 under my Department's Additional School Accommodation Scheme. This grant was provided to enable the Board of Management to provide a mainstream classroom, three resource rooms and a WC for assisted users.

The project went to construction in 2017 and was completed in 2018. The full grant has been paid to the school.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (413)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

413. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which works at a school (details supplied) are progressing in accordance with the requirements as set out by the school authorities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20140/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has no record of receiving an application, for capital funding, from the school in question.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (414)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

414. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the degree to which constant re-evaluation takes place throughout north County Kildare with a view to replacement of obsolete school buildings with permanent modern accommodation in accordance with the requirements as set out by the school authorities and mindful of the demographic challenges facing the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20141/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under project Ireland 2040, the Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands throughout the country including north Co. Kildare and this is kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040. The 2019 school building capital allocation is €622 m.

As the Deputy is aware the announcement in April 2018 of plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019-2022), including a new primary school to provide additional school capacity in Naas, County Kildare. This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by the Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (415, 417, 418)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

415. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regrading proposed extension, upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary and post-primary level in Sallins, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium-to-short term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20142/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

417. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding proposed extension upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary level in Derrinturn, Carbury, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium-to-short term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20144/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

418. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding proposed extension upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary level in Kilshanroe, Carbury, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium to short-term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20145/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 415, 417 and 418 together.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department's School Building Programme continues to address the challenges posed by the significant bulge in pupil enrolments going through our schools. This has seen a significant expansion in the rate of provision of new school places. The School Building Programme details the school projects that are being progressed through the architectural planning process, including those schools in County Kildare.

My Department has set out on its website at www.education.ie - Building Works, the current status of building projects and this is updated regularly.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions Nos. 417 and 418 answered with Question No. 415.

Questions (416)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

416. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding proposed extension, upgrading and replacement of facilities at primary and post-primary level in Prosperous, County Kildare; the precise stage of development in each case with a view to identifying the extent to which the needs can be met in the medium to short-term; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20143/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website.

In particular, the Deputy will be aware that a Major project for St. Farnan's Post Primary RN 70720G in Prosperous, Co. Kildare has been devolved for delivery to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB). I can confirm to the Deputy that KWETB is in the process of appointing a Design Team in that respect. I can also advise the Deputy that this project is being delivered in the area in question to meet an identified demographic demand.

Questions Nos. 417 and 418 answered with Question No. 415.

Schools Building Projects Status

Question No. 420 answered with Question No. 410.

Questions (419)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

419. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress to date in regard to upgrading and replacement of a school (details supplied); the extent to which the demographic changes in the area are being catered for in accordance with the case set out by the school authorities arising from the demographics of the area; when the project will move to the next stage; if this can be carried out as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20146/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, a building project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department's school building programme to be delivered as part of the National Development Plan. In the context of progressing the building project, my Department undertook a technical site visit to the school.

My Department has advised the school authority that it is currently working on the accommodation brief. My Department will be in further contact with the school authority when this has been finalised.

Question No. 420 answered with Question No. 410.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (421)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

421. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which the school building programme in respect of new school buildings is progressing satisfactorily in line with projections and expectations in all schools nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20148/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under project Ireland 2040, the Department continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector, in order to meet demographic and other demands.

In 2019, capital allocation for the school sector amounts to €622 m.

Construction activity in 2018 and 2019 will deliver approx. 40,000 additional and replacement school places, the replacement of over 600 prefabs which is a key element of our prefab replacement programme.

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement followed 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, on 26 April last, I announced the establishment of a further national school in Ashbourne which will open in September 2019.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale projects being delivered under project Ireland 2040 may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website. 

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (422)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

422. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which a reduction in pupil-teacher ratios and class sizes is being addressed in all areas nationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20149/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Budget 2019 marks the third year of a major reinvestment in the education. In 2019, the budget for the Department of Education and Skills will increase by €674 million, a 6.7% increase on last year. In total, the Education budget will have increased by €1.7 billion compared to 2016.

Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes. This builds on the Budget 2018 measure which provided a one point improvement in the staffing schedule in primary schools which brings the position to the most favourable ever seen at primary level.

The 2018/19 school year saw an increase of over 6000 teaching posts in our schools compared to the 2015/16 school year.

The Statistics Section of my Department's website contains extensive data in relation to our schools including pupil teacher ratios and teacher numbers. The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratios show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15.3:1 at primary level and 13.8:1 to 13.1:1 at post primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2017/18 school year.

School Curriculum

Questions (423)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

423. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which the school curriculum at primary and secondary-level can be extended to incorporate particular emphasis on basic life skills, sex education and health and safety issues with a view to addressing issues arising and the prevention of bullying in and out of the classroom; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20150/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Schools have a role to play in supporting their students to develop the key skills and knowledge to enable them to make informed choices when faced with a range of issues. This is mainly done through the Social Personal and Health Education (SPHE) programme. SPHE is currently mandatory in all primary schools and in junior cycle. It also forms part of the mandatory 'Well-being' area of learning for the new junior cycle which was introduced in September 2017. A Framework for SPHE at Senior Cycle is also available to schools.

The SPHE curriculum aims to provide a range of diverse and inclusive skills such as communicating, making decisions, knowing where to find reliable data, belonging and integrating, handling conflict constructively, dealing with bullying, expressing feelings and emotions, substance abuse, resisting peer pressure, personal safety, healthy lifestyles, values and mutual respect.

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has undertaken extensive work reviewing Relationships and Sexuality Education. The NCCA Council is currently considering the draft report and following their consideration, I look forward to receiving the advice of the Council on this matter.

The review of RSE will be an important development in our education system as part of the Department's continued efforts to prepare our young people for adult life, including a renewed emphasis on respect, relationships and well-being.