Schools Grievance Procedures

Questions (269)

Seán Haughey

Question:

269. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he is satisfied with the procedures in place for parents to make complaints regarding a grievance or misconduct in respect of schools; if this procedure can involve the principal, board of management, patron, and the Ombudsman for Children; his views on the fact that this can be a very long, drawn-out procedure; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Ombudsman for Children has no brief for complaints from parents; his plans to improve these complaint procedures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27830/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The complaint procedures currently operated by most schools are those that have been agreed between the teacher unions and school management bodies. The Office of the Ombudsman for Children may also independently investigate complaints in relation to schools provided the school's complaints procedures have been followed. The Ombudsman for Children accepts complaints from children and young people under the age of 18, and from parents on children’s behalf. Most complaints to the Ombudsman for Children are from parents.

The Deputy may be aware that my Department is currently working on the drafting of the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019 in conjunction with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel.

The overall aim of this legislation is to improve the level of engagement between schools and students and their parents by inviting feedback, comment and observations from students and parents and by developing a listening culture in the school. A key element of the legislation is the need to ensure schools address and resolves concerns of students or their parents relating to the school as far as possible at an early stage.

Under the legislation, each school will be required to prepare, publish and implement a Student and Parent Charter in accordance with national guidelines to be published by the Minister after consultation with the education partners, including those bodies representing parents.

The legislation will provide for the charter guidelines to include new procedures that all schools will be required to follow when dealing with complaints of students or their parents relating to the school. The procedures, to be developed in consultation with the education partners, will help ensure that grievances of students or their parents relating to the school are dealt with consistently across schools. Once the drafting process has concluded, it is my intention to seek Government approval, for the publication of the Bill in the Autumn.

In-service Training

Questions (270)

Seán Haughey

Question:

270. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to update and modernise governance in schools; if the formal procedures for schools and teachers communicating with parents can be improved; if additional training can be provided for teachers to do this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27831/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The governance structure of schools is such that, in accordance with the Education Act 1998 schools are managed by boards of management on behalf of the relevant school patrons. Under the Act, each board of management, in carrying out its functions, is required to do so in accordance with the policies determined by the Minister.

In primary schools the agreed composition and procedures for the appointment and operation of boards of management of primary schools are set out in my Department’s publication “Governance Manual for Primary Schools 2015 - 2019”. The term of office of all circa 3,300 primary schools is for four years and the term of office of the current boards will expire on 30 November 2019 with new boards to be appointed from 1 December 2019. In anticipation of the appointment of new boards from 1 December 2019, the Department, following consultations with organisations representing school management, parents and teachers will have in place an updated Governance Manual in advance of the new boards taking up office.

At post primary level requirements in respect of the composition, appointment and operation of boards of management are set out in legal governing documents relevant to each of the three post primary sectors.

Work on the drafting of the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019 is close to being finalised and I intend to seek Government approval shortly for its publication. Under the Bill, each school will be required to prepare, publish and implement a Student and Parent Charter in accordance with national guidelines to be published by the Minister after consultation with the education partners. The key aim of the legislation is to improve how schools engage with students and their parents. The charter legislation will include requirements for consultation and engagement with parents and students on matters relating to school life and in respect of the development, review and updating of school plans, policies and activities.

Key concepts in the legislation also include the need for schools to respond to feedback and comments from students and parents where appropriate and to address and resolve any concerns of students or their parents relating to the school as far as possible at an early stage. In addition, the legislation will provide for the charter guidelines to include new procedures that all schools will be required to follow when dealing with complaints of students or their parents relating to the school. The procedures, will help ensure that grievances of students or their parents relating to the school are dealt with efficiently, fairly and consistently across schools.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (271)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

271. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the 20 school building projects which are delayed; the longest at stage 2b; when a design team was appointed in each case; and when a replacement design team was appointed if applicable. [27834/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The 20 major school building projects which are the longest at stage 2(b) are detailed in the following table. The information requested by the Deputy is provided in the table.

Of the 20 projects listed, 9 continue to have the full design team that was appointed at the start of the project. In the case of one of the projects, the full design team has been replaced twice and in the case of one further project the full design team has been replaced once and a particular Design Team Consultant has been replaced twice.

Of the remaining 9 projects, while there have been replacements of particular Design Team Consultants the full Design Team has not been replaced.

A Design Team consists of a Consultant Architect, a Quantity Surveyor, a Civil & StructuralEngineer, a Mechanical & Electrical Engineer and a Project Supervisor for theDesign Process.

Project Name

Date Design Team Appointed

Date Replacement Design Team/Design Team Consultant Appointed

Notes

Scoil an Chroí Naofa, Ballinasloe

Jun-01

Jan-15

Replacement Civil & Structural Consultant only

Ballyowen Meadows & Setanta

Mar-06

Lismullen NS

Sep-11

St Senan's NS, Enniscorthy

May-99

Hedgestown NS (Baile Falbach)

May-11

Jul-18

Replacement Consultant Architect only

Seosamh Naofa Carrabane, Athenry

Nov-12

Jul-14

Replacement Civil & Structural Consultant only

Our Lady of Lourdes Goldenbridge

Oct-11

St Patricks, Clane

Feb-12

Feb-15 & Mar-19

Feb-15 Replacement of Full Design Team & Mar-19  Replacement Quantity Surveryor Consultant only 

Mhicil Naofa,Athy

Jul-07

St Laurence O'Toole Special School

Oct-07

Scoil Aine & St Thomas (Esker)

Mar-12

Sep-14

Replacement Civil & Structural Consultant only

Kanturk BNS (S-B) (with RN 17087J)

Dec 11 - Jul 12

Jan 14 & Jul 18

5/12/2011 Architectural Services OPW, 5/12/2011 M & E Services OPW, 5/12/2011 Civil & Structural OPW,  24/7/2012 Quantity Surveyor Consultancy Appointed.  29/1/14 replacement Civil & Structural Consultancy Appointed & July 2018 replacement M & E Consultancy Appointed

Scoil Cholmcille, Letterkenny

Oct-11

Nov-14

Replacement Civil & Structural Consultant only

Rush NS

Jan-11

Oct-14 & Jul-18

Oct -14 Replacement Mechanical & Electrical Consultant (only) & Jul -18 replacement Consultant Architect only

St Joseph's,Kilcock

Dec-12

SN Creachmhaoil, Craughwell (M)

Oct 13  - May 14

May-19

23/10/2013 Architectural Services OPW, 13/12/2013 QS Consultancy Service Appointed, 28/04/14 Civil & Structural Consultancy Appointed, 14/5/2014 M & E Consultancy Service Appointed, 15/5/2019 replacement QS Consultancy Service appointed

St. Finian's Community College, Swords

Jan-13

St Josephs College, Lucan

Sep-99

Jan - 12 & Mar- 15

Replacement Civil/Structural & Mechanical & Electrical both occasions

St David's Secondary School

Oct-13

Marymount, Louth

Jun-01

Jun-11 & Nov 2016

Replacement of Full Design Team on both these dates

Schools Building Projects Applications

Questions (272)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

272. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application for a permanent extension by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27840/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application, for additional school accommodation, from the school authority in question.

Officials from my Department have recently corresponded with the school Patron and on receipt of their response the application will be progressed and the decision will issue to the school authority directly.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (273)

Michael Moynihan

Question:

273. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the construction of the new primary school in Kanturk, County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27858/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the project to which he refers is devolved to the OPW for delivery.

I am pleased to confirm that the Stage 2B report (preparation of tender documentation) has been received from the OPW and is currently being reviewed by officials in my Department.

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the OPW has confidence that the enabling works on site., whcih had been delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, will be completed this month.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (274)

James Browne

Question:

274. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding 2015 summer works applications; if the case of a school (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27866/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has a Category 10 application under my Department's 2015 Summer Works Scheme. It is intended to undertake an analysis of these outstanding applications later this year. This analysis, together with funding availability and priorities for the SWS in 2020 will determine the pathway forward in respect of these remaining applications.

Teacher Recruitment

Questions (275)

Kathleen Funchion

Question:

275. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a request for a full-time teacher for a school (details supplied) will be processed; and when a decision will be made. [27869/19]

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.

As the enrolment of the school referred to by the Deputy fell below the retention figure for the eighth teacher, one teaching post will be suppressed for the coming school year.

The staffing schedule also includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board.

The school referred to by the Deputy submitted an application for consideration by the Appeals Board at its June meeting. The Appeals Board considered the appeal and determined that it did not satisfy all the published criteria as set out in Circular 0019/2019.

The school has been notified of the outcome of the appeal. The Appeals Board operates independently of my Department and its decision is final.

School Transport Provision

Questions (276)

Peadar Tóibín

Question:

276. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of school transport for persons (details supplied). [27870/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

The purpose of the School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children with special educational needs arising from a diagnosed disability.

Eligibility is determined following consultation with the National Council for Special Education through its network of Special Education Needs Organisers. Applications for transport provision, under the terms of this scheme, should only be completed in circumstances where children are not in a position to avail of standard school transport services.

The Department and Bus Éireann are very conscious of the specialised nature of transport provision for children with special educational needs. This is reflected in the standard of dedicated service provided and the fact that these services are generally planned and timetabled to operate on a door-to-door basis.

In certain cases, the Department also provides funding to schools for the employment of escorts to accompany children whose care and safety needs require this level of support while they travel to and from school.

One of the children referred to by the Deputy is eligible under the terms of the School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs, and Bus Éireann has advised he is availing of a service that caters for a number of children; there is also an escort on board this service.

The second child in question is not eligible for school transport under the terms of the Primary School Transport Scheme as he is not attending his nearest school.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.

Departmental Reviews

Questions (277)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

277. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of live studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by him; and the date by which each study, review and research is scheduled to be completed. [27880/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

For the Deputy’s information, studies, reviews and research undertaken or commissioned by my Department has been taken to refer to such tasks undertaken by external consultants.

The information in relation to such engagements in 2018 is available at www.education.ie/en/Publications/Corporate-Reports/Financial-Reports/Expenditure-on-Consultancy/expenditure-on-consultancy-by-department-of-education-and-skills-in-2018.pdf.

Details in respect of consultants engaged in 2019 to undertake studies, reviews and research will be compiled in January 2020 and will be published on my Department’s website as soon as they are available.

Departmental Strategy Statements

Questions (278)

Joe Carey

Question:

278. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Education and Skills the documents published by his Department since 1 January 2016 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27904/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information sought by the Deputy is contained in the following table.

Name of current Policy Documents or Strategies published by the

Department of Education and Skills

Year Published

National Strategy: Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life 2011-2020 Interim Review 2016 ( Additional 4 Targets 2017-2020 published in 2017)

2016

Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland 2016-2020

2016

Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025

2016

Action Plan for Education 2016-2019 – Department of Education and Skills Strategy Statement

2016

Action Plan for Education 2016

2016

Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022

2016

Irish Educated Globally Connected an International Education Strategy for Ireland, 2016-2020

2016

Strategy for Technology-Enhanced Learning in Further Education and Training 2016-2019.

2016

Investing in National Ambition: A Strategy for Funding Higher Education

2016

Total Number Published in 2016

9

STEM Education Policy Statement 2017-2026

2017

Languages Connect, Irelands Strategy for foreign languages in Education 2017-2026

2017

Data Strategy for the Department of Education and Skills

2017

Action Plan for Education 2017

2017

Education and Training Sector Shared Services Plan 2017-2020

2017

DEIS Plan (Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools) 2017

2017

Digital Strategy Action Plan, 2017

2017

Total Number Published in 2017

7

Wellbeing Policy Statement and Framework for Practice 2018–2023

2018

Education for Sustainability’ National Strategy on Education for Sustainable development in Ireland 2014-2020 - Review

2018

Data Protection Policy

2018

Action Plan for Education 2018

2018

Teacher Supply Action Plan

2018

Digital Strategy Action Plan, 2018

2018

Gender Action Plan 2018 - 2020

2018

National Student Accommodation Strategy

2018

Total Number Published in 2018

8

Department of Education and Skills Statement of Strategy 2019-2021

2019

Action Plan for Education 2019

2019

Digital Strategy Action Plan, 2019

2019

Total Number Published in 2019

3

Total Number Published 2016- 2019

27

School Transport Provision

Questions (279)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

279. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if free school transport will be offered in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27957/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

Under the terms of the Department's Post Primary School Transport Scheme children are eligible for school transport where they reside not less than 4.8 kilometres from and are attending their nearest education centre as determined by my Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that the child referred to by the Deputy is not attending her nearest school and is therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the above scheme. Only children who are eligible for school transport and who hold a valid medical card (GMS scheme) are exempt from paying the annual charge.

The terms of the Post Primary School Transport Scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.

Departmental Meetings

Questions (280)

Brendan Howlin

Question:

280. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a meeting will be arranged with a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27997/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I understand from recent correspondence from the Deputy that the company in question runs a programme in media literacy, cyber awareness for young people including mindfulness

It is the policy of my Department not to endorse or promote any commercial product or service, professional consultant or company. In this case the endorsement might be seen as advice to parents and schools in what can be a complex and sometimes sensitive area. The Deputy will therefore appreciate that no useful purpose would be served by my officials meeting with the company in question. A letter to this effect will issue shortly.

The Digital Strategy for Schools 2015–2020, which is currently being implemented, reflects my Department’s current policy on the effective use of digital technologies in teaching, learning and assessment in primary and post primary schools. It sets out a clear vision that is focused on realising the potential of digital technologies to transform the learning experiences of students by helping them become engaged thinkers, active learners, knowledge constructors and global citizens who participate fully in society and the economy.

My Department, though its teacher support services, provides extensive training, supports and resources to schools to assist with the implementation of the Digital Strategy and in the development of policies and practices on the effective use of digital technologies in teaching and learning including their safe and ethical use. This includes supports on the prevention of bullying and harassment using the internet.

Webwise.ie is a key educational resource for schools which promotes the promotes the autonomous, effective and safer use of the internet by young people through a sustained information and awareness strategy targeting school leaders, teachers, parents and children themselves with consistent and relevant messages. This resource is funded by my Department and the EU and is managed by the Professional Development for Teachers (PDST).

Within the PDST, there is also a team of 22 full time personnel focusing on health and wellbeing with the goal of helping schools, through the Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) curriculum and other means to develop and promote students’ mental, emotional, social, sexual, personal and physical health in the context of a positive health-promoting school environment.

Individual schools have however autonomy to determine whether they wish to supplement or support the school's work with other external resources/materials, such as those referenced by the Deputy, but this is a matter for each individual school itself to determine.

Student Universal Support Ireland

Questions (281)

John Brassil

Question:

281. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the SUSI grant rate of payment was last reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28008/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Under the terms of the student grant scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students who meet the prescribed conditions of funding including those which relate to nationality, residency, approved course, previous academic attainment and means.

The eligibility criteria for student grants including the grant rates is reviewed annually in my Department and approved by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. As the Deputy will be aware, all proposals made in relation to education expenditure, including changes to grant rates, will be considered in the context of the Budget 2020.

The aim of the student grant scheme has always been to make a contribution to the cost of going to college, covering the full cost has never been a feasible option.

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

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (282)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

282. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a person (details supplied) has not received a SNA; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28031/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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.

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 27th September 2019.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

School Transport Provision

Questions (283)

Michael McGrath

Question:

283. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an application for school transport for a child (details supplied) in County Cork will be approved in view of the circumstances that apply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28050/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of my Department.

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

Under the terms of my Department’s School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs, children are generally eligible for school transport where they are attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet their special educational needs.

Eligibility for school transport is determined following consultation with the National Council for Special Education through its network of Special Education Needs Organisers; decisions regarding transport eligibility are based on the prevailing circumstances at the time of a child's enrolment.

The child in question is not eligible for school transport as he is not attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet his special educational needs.

The terms of the School Transport schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.

Overseas Students Data

Questions (284)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

284. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students from New Zealand studying here; if he, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, is taking further steps to attract additional students from New Zealand to come here to study; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28055/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I thank Deputy O’Dea for asking this question,

Ireland had 29 students from New Zealand studying here within the academic year 2017/18; numbers for 2018/19 have not been collated as of yet.

While some universities have institutional links with New Zealand, Enterprise Ireland acting as the Education in Ireland promotion agency does not have any active or ongoing activities in New Zealand. As the higher education sector here has not identified New Zealand as a country with high potential in this regard, EI has no immediate plans to enhance its presence or activities in New Zealand.

Student Universal Support Ireland Data

Questions (285)

John Brassil

Question:

285. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills the full rate of the SUSI grant in each of the years 2008 to 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28062/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The information in respect of the 100% maintenance rates for the years 2008-2019 is set out in tabular form as requested.

SUSI MAINTENANCE RATES FROM 2008 TO 2019

100% MAINTENANCE

100% MAINTENANCE

YEAR

ADJACENT RATE

NON ADJACENT

2008

€1,370

€3,420

2009

€1,370

€3,420

2010

€1,300

€3,250

2011

€1,215

€3,025

2012

€1,215

€3,025

2013

€1,215

€3,025

2014

€1,215

€3,025

2015

€1,215

€3,025

2016

€1,215

€3,025

2017

€1,215

€3,025

2018

€1,215

€3,025

2019

€1,215

€3,025

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (286)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

286. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when construction on a school (details supplied) will commence and be completed; the way in which he plans to address the capacity issues prior to construction of the new building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28074/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A new school building is due to be provided for the school to which the Deputy refers. The current position is that a suitable site has been identified and it is contained within a parcel of land that is currently being acquired by Clare County Council. When Clare County Council has completed its acquisition, arrangements can then be made to transfer the school site to my Department and to commence planning the new school. Given that the site acquisition is not yet complete, it is premature at this stage to give commencement and completion dates for construction. If there are capacity problems prior to construction of the new building , these issues can be outlined to my Department. I can assure the Deputy that officials from both my Department and Clare County Council are working hard to finalise matters.

Teacher Data

Questions (287)

Maurice Quinlivan

Question:

287. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of resource teachers employed at a school (details supplied) in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28075/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Officials from my Department are collating the information sought in relation to the school referred to by the Deputy. I will arrange for the information requested to be forwarded directly to the Deputy at the earliest opportunity.

Schools Establishment

Questions (288)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

288. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the commitment made to open an educate together national school in Clonmel, County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28127/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The patronage divesting process arises from the recommendations of the 2012 report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector, following which the Department undertook surveys of parental preferences in 43 areas of stable population in 2012 and 2013 to establish the level of parental demand for a wider choice in the patronage of primary schools within these areas. Analysis of the parental preferences expressed in each area surveyed indicated that there was sufficient parental demand to support changes in school patronage in 28 areas, including in Clonmel.

Under the patronage divesting process, a school can be opened where a school building became, or was due to become available as a result of an amalgamation/closure of an existing school. In some areas, including in the case of Clonmel, in responding to demand for diversity where existing patrons were unable make school properties available, my Department also included an examination of properties held in public ownership.

To date, it has not been possible to secure a school property to facilitate a new school being established in Clonmel. However, my Department is continuing its efforts in relation to identifying a suitable solution under the patronage divesting process, which would facilitate a new Educate Together school being established to serve the Clonmel area. It is not possible at this stage, however, to give a timeframe for the establishment of such a school.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (289)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

289. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress made since a school (details supplied) met with officials in Tullamore, County Offaly in December 2018; his plans for the school when the current lease expires in June 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28181/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that a major 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 this regard, a project manager has been appointed to master plan the site to explore the feasibility of whether the accommodation needs of the school in question and an existing education provider could be met on the site. This process is on-going.

When the master planning process is completed it will provide an opportunity for further engagement with all parties.

Junior Cycle Reform

Questions (290)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

290. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when history will be made a compulsory subject at junior cycle. [28185/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In November 2018 I requested the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) to review the optional nature of history under the new Framework for Junior Cycle and, as part of this review, to identify how we can best promote the study of history in our schools.

The NCCA Council considered this matter at its June meeting and the NCCA has this week sent its final report to my Department. The Department will consider this report in the first instance and then determine what next steps to take.

DEIS Data

Questions (291)

Mary Butler

Question:

291. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills the percentage of schools that have DEIS status in rural areas compared to those with DEIS status in the five major cities and larger towns; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28186/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, there are currently 896 schools in the DEIS Programme serving over 180,000 pupils. There are 359 rural DEIS primary schools, with approximately 27,000 pupils, and 339 urban DEIS primary schools, with approximately 83,000 pupils, in receipt of supports under the DEIS school support programme. There are 198 Post Primary schools with approximately 74,000 students in the DEIS programme. Post Primary schools are not classified as urban or rural.

A full breakdown of all the schools in the DEIS programme is available on my Departments website at

www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/.