Capitation Grants

Questions (240)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

240. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to increase the capitation grants for schools in budget 2020; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of schools are struggling financially due to the reduced rates of grants available under the capitation grants at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23487/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I fully recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools.

In the period 2011 to 2015 the capitation and related grants for schools were reduced by just over 11% in aggregate.  

I am pleased to have been able to provide for a 5% increase in capitation funding for primary and post primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2019/20 school year. Over the course of the school year 2019/20, an additional €10 million will be allocated to primary and post primary schools, of which €4 million will be allocated in 2019.

I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures. Where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year I have to prioritise, especially in the context of increasing enrolments.

It is my intention to seek funding for further capitation increases in future budgets.

Scoileanna DEIS

Questions (241)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

241. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an féidir leis sonraí a chur ar fáil faoin dul chun cinn atá á dhéanamh aige chun clár DEIS a leasú d'fhonn scoileanna breise a chur le líon na scoileanna atá ag glacadh páirt sa scéim faoi láthair; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23495/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Tá mo Roinn i mbun anailísiú sonraí i láthair na huaire i gcomhthéacs acmhainní atá le leithroinnt d'fhonn riachtanas a shainaithnítear a mheaitseáil, lena n-áirítear athróga a scrúdú arb eol iad a bheith ina réamh-mheastóirí maithe maidir le míbhuntáiste oideachais.  Tá measúnú a dhéanamh ar gach Bunscoil agus Iarbhunscoil i láthair na huaire ag baint úsáid as an múnla aitheantais nua. Níl sé i gceist an clár DEIS a leathnú chuig aon scoileanna eile go mbeidh an anailís seo curtha i gcrích.

School Services Staff

Questions (242)

Brendan Smith

Question:

242. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address the inequalities existing in the terms and conditions of primary school secretaries employed under boards of management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23507/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I recognise the very important work done by school secretaries, and indeed by other support staff, in the running of our schools and I am grateful to them for the contribution they make to our education system.  I have spoken to a number of school secretaries about their employment conditions and understand the issues they have raised.

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.

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of Clerical Officers and Caretakers in schools.  The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008. 

These schemes have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes.  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 these grant schemes.  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 foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period.  This arbitration agreement covers the period up to 31 December 2019. 

The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a Secretary or Caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration has from 1 January 2019, been paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual’s hourly pay. 

Officials from my Department attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills on 9 April to discuss the status of non-teaching staff.

Officials from my Department recently had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives as part of a planned meeting. FÓRSA took the opportunity to formally table a pay claim. 

This was tabled as a follow-on claim from the current pay agreement for this cohort of staff which lasts until December 2019. The Department will seek to establish the full current cost of the trade union’s claim. This is standard practice.

FÓRSA's claim will be fully considered once the current costings have been determined on completion of the survey.  The Department is fully open to having further dialogue with FÓRSA once this work has been undertaken.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (243)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

243. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of additional teaching positions which would be required in primary schools to restore the appointment figures for the third and fourth mainstream teacher to the level they were at in 2010, that is, 49 and 81. [23512/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Budget 2012 increased the appointment and retention ratios for small schools, i.e. schools with four classroom teachers or fewer.

Since 2015, measures have been introduced to improve the staffing of these schools which has seen improvements in the appointment and retention thresholds for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classroom teacher and more favourable enrolment thresholds for one teacher schools situated 8km or more from the nearest school of the same type of patronage and/or language of instruction.

Budget 2017 announced two adjustments in relation to one teacher schools. Where the school is the sole primary school on an island the school will be able to appoint a second teacher.  In relation to single teacher schools generally with an enrolment of 15 or more pupils the school can apply to the staffing appeal board for a second post where the single teacher has children across 6 or more class groups. 

Small schools have also benefitted from the 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule for all schools implemented in 2016 and again in 2018.  For the current school year, the staffing schedule at Primary level operates on a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher (26:1) which is historically the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level.

In addition, the staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including a specific appeal measure for small schools, to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board.

The estimated cost of restoring the staffing schedule for small schools to pre-2012 levels would be approximately €3.5 million.

Schools Data

Questions (244)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

244. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary schools which had a teaching staff of one, two or three teachers in 2010 and which have since closed following the increase in the appointment figures. [23513/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is available in the following table.

Number of schools with 3 or fewer teachers in 2010, by year of closure

Year of Closure

Schools Closed

Schools Amalgamated

Total

2011

3

3

6

2012

7

3

10

2013

4

4

8

2014

6

5

11

2015

6

6

12

2016

3

2

5

2017

2

5

7

2018

3

5

8

Total

34

33

67

School Closure List

Roll Number

School Name

County

Number of Teachers in 2010

Year Closed

Amalgamated?

02749V

Ballyraggett BNS

Kilkenny

3

2018

Yes

07048Q

Mohober National School

Tipperary

2

2015

Yes

08241P

Scropul National School

Clare

2

2012

Yes

08958O

SN An Eanaigh Cailíní 

Galway

2

2014

Yes

10191P

Coore National School

Clare

3

2012

Yes

12626L

SN Coill a tSidheain

Mayo

2

2017

Yes

13351D

Clonigulane National School

Clare

2

2013

Yes

13478E

Droimdiogach National School

Clare

2

2014

Yes

13944H

SN Naomh Atrachta

Sligo

2

2011

Yes

13945J

Eskaragh National School

Mayo

2

2013

Yes

14400S

Richmond National School

Mayo

3

2018

Yes

14425L

SN Doire Uí Bhriain

Galway

2

2016

Yes

14671D

Creevagh National School

Mayo

2

2018

Yes

14865Q

Kilocrann National School

Mayo

3

2018

Yes

14923E

Keenagh Natinal School

Mayo

3

2013

Yes

15007V

Party National School

Mayo

3

2017

Yes

15327Q

Cahermurphy National School

Clare

2

2013

Yes

16142J

SN Mín na Manrach

Donegal

2

2012

Yes

16901E

St Patricks Boys Junior School

Cork

3

2015

Yes

17359Q

St Cormac's NS

Offaly

2

2011

Yes

17620B

Rossmore National School

Tipperary

3

2017

Yes

17621D

Scoil Náisiúnta an Bhealaigh

Tipperary

2

2017

Yes

17687K

Tullycrine national School

Clare

2

2014

Yes

17718S

SN Seosamh Naofa

Sligo

3

2014

Yes

17764C

SN Baile Tuirinne

Galway

2

2016

Yes

17898A

St Joseph's National School

Clare

2

2014

Yes

18175L

Banagher National School

Mayo

2

2018

Yes

18547W

Faolan Naofa NS

Laois

2

2017

Yes

18846J

An Daingin

Clare

2

2015

Yes

18901O

Rathmorrel National School

Kerry

2

2015

Yes

19421F

Kilross National School

Tipperary

2

2015

Yes

19464A

SN Naomh Colmcille

Dublin

3

2015

Yes

19923G

St Joseph's NS

Sligo

2

2011

Yes

02327S

Mantua National School

Roscommon

1

2012

No

07101R

Inisclough National School

Cork

2

2013

No

08316U

Newtown National School

Tipperary

2

2017

No

09658H

Glenisland School

Mayo

2

2016

No

10531N

Dromerin National School

Kerry

3

2012

No

12713G

Corober National School

Cavan

3

2015

No

12815O

Cregduff National School

Mayo

3

2014

No

13951E

Lettermacow National School

Galway

3

2016

No

14065H

Sherkin Island National School

Cork

2

2016

No

14195U

SN An Gleanna Mhóir

Mayo

2

2013

No

15228O

Corgary National School

Galway

2

2013

No

15705W

Rathkell National School

Mayo

2

2012

No

15883A

Killegney National School

Wexford

2

2012

No

15968I

Baltard National School

Clare

3

2013

No

16295L

SN a Chorrain

Mayo

3

2015

No

16535F

Timolin National School

Kildare

2

2014

No

16630W

Carra National School

Mayo

2

2018

No

16951T

SN na Craoibheleithe

Leitrim

2

2015

No

16952V

Coogue National School

Mayo

2

2011

No

17076E

Glenroe National School

Limerick

3

2015

No

17094G

SN Rath Cruachán

Roscommon

2

2015

No

17132L

Drumnamore National School

Leitrim

2

2012

No

17267L

Scoil Iobar Naofa

Wexford

3

2015

No

17552K

Scoil Bhrighde

Donegal

2

2018

No

17558W

Scoil Náisiúnta Rosan

Leitrim

2

2012

No

17679L

SN Brighde

Tipperary

3

2014

No

17699R

Tureen National School

Kerry

2

2014

No

17724N

Baile an Clochain National School

Longford

2

2012

No

17998E

SN Muire an tSolais

Galway

2

2014

No

18100D

Lisgriffin National School

Cork

2

2018

No

18211M

SN Ciaráin Naofa

Galway

2

2011

No

18222R

Carnageehy National School

Galway

2

2014

No

18440E

Clonkeen National School

Kerry

3

2011

No

18559G

Killenaive National School

Tipperary

2

2017

No

Schools Data

Questions (245)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

245. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary schools which have total teacher numbers (details supplied). [23514/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is available in the following table. The data is given for the 2017/2018 academic year. Data for 2018 is being finalised, and will be available at the end of June.

Number of schools by total teaching staff, 2017/2018

Total Teachers (Whole Time Equivalent)

Number of Schools

1-7

1,569

8-11

342

12-13

243

14-16

244

17-19

166

20-23

197

24-26

129

27-30

88

31-35

47

36+

86

Total

3,111

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (246)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Question:

246. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills if 18 national schools in County Donegal have experienced cuts in the number of special needs assistants allocated to their respective schools; the reason the cuts have occurred; the appeals mechanism open to these schools; the names of the 18 schools directly affected by his decision to reduce the allocation of SNAs for the county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23515/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I announced on 27 May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with up to 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children 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 the 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.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with.  Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27 September 2019.

The NCSE publish the allocations for individual schools for each school year and this information is available on their website, www.ncse.ie.

School Staff Appeals Mechanism

Questions (247)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Question:

247. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of times in the past five years national schools that were in danger of losing a teacher due to a drop in pupil numbers won an appeal to the primary staffing appeals board and maintained its number of teachers for the following academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23535/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

A staffing appeal process is available to schools.  Some of the appeal criteria set out in the staffing arrangements allow for appeal posts to be allocated on a provisional basis, pending confirmation of the school's enrolment in the following September.  In these cases, where the required enrolment is not reached, the appeal post is suppressed at the end of October.

The information requested by the Deputy is being compiled and will be forwarded directly to him.

Special Educational Needs Staff Remuneration

Questions (248)

David Cullinane

Question:

248. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs assistant who has 13 years full service as a SNA and is undertaking job-sharing will, in the case of a redundancy occurring in that job-sharing job, lose 13 years full service and only be paid for half of those years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23539/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

In the calculation of a redundancy payment such as that referred to by the Deputy the 13 years full time service given by the Special Needs Assistant would be taken into account in the calculation.

The service undertaken by that Special Needs Assistant during the period of a subsequent job-sharing arrangement would also be taken into account in the calculation of any redundancy payment.

 Calculation of the amount due will, in accordance with the terms of the Redundancy Payments Act, 1967, be based on salary applying at the time of redundancy.

 Further information in relation to job sharing arrangements and redundancy payments for special needs assistants are outlined in Circulars 0041/2014 and 0058/2006.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (249)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

249. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of new posts (details supplied) that are completely new posts and not extensions of existing posts; if he will provide a breakdown of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23545/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I announced on 27 May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with up to 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children 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 the 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.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with.  Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27 September 2019.

The NCSE publish the allocations for individual schools for each school year and this information is available on their website, www.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (250)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

250. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if and when the special educational requirements will be facilitated in the case of the son of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23579/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for organising and planning provision for children with Special Educational Needs, including the establishment of special classes in mainstream primary and post primary schools.

Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of special classes from 548 in 2011 to 1,459 for the 2018/19 school year. 1,196 of these are ASD special classes.

Parents/guardians who may need advice or are experiencing difficulties in locating a school placement should contact their local SENO who can assist in identifying an appropriate educational placement for their child. Contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.  

As the matter raised by the Deputy refers to a particular child, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the National Council for Special Education for their attention and direct reply.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (251)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

251. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the allocation of SNAs by school for the September term in each of the years 2016 to 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23585/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I announced on 27 May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with up to 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children 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 the 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.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with.  Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27 September 2019.

The NCSE publish the allocations for individual schools for each school year and this information is available on their website, www.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (252)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

252. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the allocation of new SNA posts announced on 27 May 2019 by school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23586/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I announced on 27th May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with up to 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children 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 the 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.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with.  Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27 September 2019.

The NCSE publish the allocations for individual schools for each school year and this information is available on their website, www.ncse.ie.

Teachers' Remuneration

Questions (253)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

253. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23594/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Teachers Conciliation Council (TCC) is the recognised forum for dealing with matters relating to the pay and conditions of service for teachers. The Council is comprised of representatives of teachers, school management, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the Department of Education & Skills and is chaired by an official of the Workplace Relations Commission.

The criteria for the award of incremental credit for post-primary teachers  was agreed under the auspices of the Teacher Conciliation Council and issued by my Department under Circulars 29/2007 and 29/2010. The terms of these circulars are applicable to all post-primary teachers.

The teacher referred to by the Deputy applied, in February 2019, for incremental credit for previous teaching experience in a private post-primary school which is located outside of the European Union.  As the service applied for did not meet the criteria as set out in the circulars my Department issued its decision to the applicant in April 2019. 

Teachers' Professional Development

Questions (254)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

254. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary teachers who have participated in training and CPD on special educational needs since the introduction of the special education teacher allocation model in post-primary schools in September 2017; the number of additional teachers allocated under the model who have qualifications in special educational needs; his plans to provide a national training programme to ensure that all teachers receive training and CPD in special educational needs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23602/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the qualification requirements for teachers taking up special education teacher posts are set out in my Departments Circulars 0013 2017 for primary schools and 0014 2017 for post primary schools.

These Circulars also advise schools that in addition to the qualification requirements noted in the Circulars, the acquired professional development and expertise of teachers, including where teachers have attained recognised qualifications in special education, should be taken into account by the principal when allocating teaching responsibilities, in order to ensure that pupils with the greatest needs are supported by teachers who have the relevant expertise, and who can provide continuity of support. 

As it is a matter for school Boards of Management to recruit appropriately qualified teachers, data regarding the qualifications of individual teachers is not reported to my Department. My Department therefore does not have details of the number of additional teachers allocated under the special education model that have additional  qualifications in special educational needs.

In relation to the provision of a national training programme to ensure that all teachers receive training in special educational needs, I wish to advise that the Teaching Council is the statutory body with responsibility for professional standards and regulation of the teaching profession.

Under Section 38 of the Teaching Council Act, all initial teacher education programmes are subject to review and accreditation by the Teaching Council, in accordance with the Criteria and Guidelines for Programme Providers (published in 2011 and revised in March 2017). In accordance with these Criteria and Guidelines, inclusive education is a mandatory component for all students in ITE.

The learning outcomes of ITE programmes also reflect the need for the teacher to be able to conduct a systematic, holistic assessment of learner needs; to apply knowledge of the individual potential of students, their disposition towards learning and their backgrounds, identities and learning styles to their teaching; to set clear, challenging and achievable expectations for pupils; to evaluate learner progress; to act as an advocate for students, referring students for educational support as required and participating in the provision of that support, amongst other relevant outcomes. 

The Teaching Council is currently carrying out a review of the impact of the current programmes, with a view to amending the Criteria and Guidelines before the next round of accreditation commences in 2020.

A recently published report from the National Council for Special Education on Initial Teacher Education for Inclusion: Phase 1 and 2 (NCSE Research Report No. 26), found that there is in general much good practice related to inclusive education in ITE, particularly in relation to the fostering of positive attitudes to inclusion, while also noting that there is scope for further alignment between theory and practice, in particular between student placement and the university experience. These findings will be considered by the Teaching Council in the course of its work.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Support Service also provides for:

- Continual Professional Development (CPD) and support for teachers in the area of special educational needs (SEN) to enhance the quality of learning and teaching in relation to Special Education Needs (SEN) provision

- providing support and expertise to partner schools on issues related to behaviour

- supporting the introduction of the new model of resource teaching allocation to schools and to develop capacity to meet the needs of students with SEN

As CPD for teachers in the area of special educational needs is provided to schools by the NCSE support services, I have referred the part of the Deputy's question regarding the number of post-primary teachers that have participated in training and CPD on special educational needs since the introduction of the special education teacher allocation model in post-primary schools in September 2017, to the NCSE for direct reply to the Deputy regarding this matter.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (255)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

255. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23603/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for organising and planning provision for children with Special Educational Needs, including the establishment of special classes in mainstream primary and post primary schools.

Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of special classes from 548 in 2011 to 1,459 for the 2018/19 school year. 1,196 of these are ASD special classes.

Parents/guardians who may need advice or are experiencing difficulties in locating a school placement should contact their local SENO who can assist in identifying an appropriate educational placement for their child. Contact details are available on www.ncse.ie.  

As the matter raised by the Deputy refers to a particular child, I have arranged for the Deputy's question to be forwarded to the National Council for Special Education for their attention and direct reply.