Apprenticeship Programmes

Questions (457)

Carol Nolan

Question:

457. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if apprenticeship fees will be abolished at third level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32155/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

An Annual Student Contribution is levied on all students attending Institutes of Technology (IoTs).  Previously this Annual Student Contribution was paid by FÁS/SOLAS with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS ceased making payments to IoTs and apprentices pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution.

The amount charged to apprentices is calculated on a pro rata basis of the time which they spend in IoTs during the academic year. This cost would typically be one third of the Annual Student Contribution paid by students attending for the full academic year, currently €3,000 and would amount to approximately €1,000 per student per period spent in the Institutes of Technology. 

There are no plans to abolish the Annual Student Contribution for apprentices. Any change in this regard would be a matter for government and would form part of the normal budgetary process and be considered in the broader context of competing demands and the overall availability of resources. 

Student Universal Support Ireland Expenditure

Questions (458)

Carol Nolan

Question:

458. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to increase investment in SUSI grants in terms of adjacent, non-adjacent and postgraduate rates to alleviate the financial hardship of students from low-income families; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32156/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Programme for Government contains a commitment to increase financial supports for postgraduate students with a particular focus on those from low income households.

As the Deputy will be aware, additional funding of €7m was secured in Budgets 2017 and 2018 to facilitate the reinstatement of full maintenance grants from September 2017, for the most disadvantaged postgraduate students. This benefitted circa 1,000 postgraduate students who met the eligibility criteria for the special rate of maintenance grant and reversed the budgetary cut that was imposed on this cohort of students in 2012.

Budget 2011 provided for a number of student grant measures which came into effect for the 2011/12 academic year, including the change in the assessment of the qualifying distance criterion for the non-adjacent rate of grant from 24 kilometres to 45 kilometres.

The 24km distance criterion was originally set in 1968 and had not been updated in more than 40 years. Since then, significant improvements have taken place in the road and rail network and it is considered that the revised distance criteria is more consistent with the type of distances that students may legitimately be expected to commute to college.

The current qualifying distance of 45km for the higher non-adjacent rate of student grant takes into account a reasonable radius within which students may commute on a daily basis.

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. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended. 

Tax relief also is available on tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners at www.revenue.ie

The Deputy will appreciate that there are a large number of competing demands for available funding. Decisions with regard to Budget 2020 will be announced on Budget day.

Student Support Schemes

Questions (459, 460)

Carol Nolan

Question:

459. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to increase the numbers of counselling psychologists at third level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32157/19]

View answer

Carol Nolan

Question:

460. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the implementation of a peer-led support programme to assist students experiencing mental health issues in third level institutions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32158/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 459 and 460 together.

All higher education institutions (HEIs) are required to put in place appropriate student services, and the provision of appropriate services to students experiencing mental health issues would be included in that. As part of these services, all HEIs need to consider what is most appropriate in their HEI, or students particular context, while also considering best practice models such as peer-led support programmes and seeking to liaise with external services to the fullest extent possible.

My Department allocates recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) for direct disbursement to their designated higher education institutions. The HEA allocates this funding as a block grant to the institutions, and as autonomous bodies, the internal disbursement of this funding, including the funding of student services, is a matter for the individual institution.

Student Grant Scheme Applications

Questions (461)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

461. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will request SUSI to review the application of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32166/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The awarding authority has advised my officials that the student in question has completed his undergraduate studies and is progressing to pursue a Masters’ in Education in the 2019/2020 academic year. Following an assessment, he was awarded a €2,000 fee contribution towards his postgraduate fees, as provided for in the 2019 Student Grant Scheme. 

If an individual applicant considers that he has been unjustly refused a student grant or that the rate of grant awarded is not the correct one, she/he may appeal, in the first instance, to an appeals officer in SUSI. Please note that there are statutory time limits for making an appeal.

Where an individual applicant has had an appeal turned down in writing by an appeals officer and remains of the view that the scheme has not been interpreted correctly in his case, an appeal may be submitted by the applicant via www.studentgrantappeals.ie outlining the position to the independent Student Grants Appeals Board within the required timeframe.

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. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the third level institution attended. 

Tax relief also is available on postgraduate tuition fees. Details in relation to this relief are available from the Revenue Commissioners at www.revenue.ie

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Questions (462)

James Browne

Question:

462. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding summer works applications; if the case of a school (details supplied) will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32168/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I can confirm that the school referred to by the Deputy has submitted an application for external works (Category 10) under my Department’s multi-annual Summer Works Scheme (SWS) 2020 onwards.

I wish to advise the Deputy that commensurate with the level of funding available for the SWS in 2020, applications will be assessed on a top down basis in accordance with the prioritisation criteria outlined in the governing Circular Letter for the Scheme. This Circular Letter (0027/2019) is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.

It is my intention to publish a list of successful applicants in Q4 2019 for works to be carried out in summer 2020.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (463)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

463. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills if challenges encountered by special needs assistants are being addressed (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32224/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were established on foot of proposals brought forward by the Labour Relations Commission when the Haddington Road Agreement was being agreed. These supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs continue to operate under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 - 2020, and both unions representing SNAs, namely SIPTU and FÓRSA, have signed up to that agreement.

As set out in the LRC proposals, the supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs only apply to current SNAs who are notified that they are to be made redundant. Accordingly, the purpose of these arrangements is to facilitate eligible SNAs who are being made redundant by one employer in filling SNA vacancies that may become available in another school / ETB.

Once an SNA with a minimum of one year's service (service in a substitute capacity i.e. covering for maternity leave, sick leave, career breaks, job-sharing etc. does not count) is notified by his/her employer that s/he is to be made redundant then s/he shall be deemed to be a member of a supplementary assignment panel for SNAs. The detailed supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs for the 2019/2020 school year are set out in Departmental Circular 0030/2019 which issued on 22 May 2019, and which is available on the Department's website at the following link:

http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0030_2019.pdf

The operation of this panel is described and outlined in Circular 0030/2019, and it is designed to be as flexible as possible which enables all eligible SNAs, who have the requisite Panel Form 1 completed by their former employer, to apply for any SNA position that is advertised by a school or an ETB with no sectorial, diocesan or geographical limitations imposed. Every eligible SNA will remain on the panel for two years with a view to getting further employment. If they are not successful over that period of time in obtaining a further SNA position then they will be eligible for a redundancy payment. Furthermore, an SNA may opt out of this supplementary assignment panel at any point in time triggering the processing of his/her redundancy payment in line with the terms set out in the SNA redundancy scheme (DES Circular 58/06) or any revision of same that is applicable at that time.

It should be noted that this does not prevent any person, including newly qualified SNAs, from applying for SNA vacancies but employers are obliged to give precedence to applicants who are members of the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel.

The Supplementary Assignment Panel arrangements are reviewed by my Department on an annual basis in conjunction with an independent Supplementary Assignment Manager, the school management bodies and the two unions representing SNA staff (FÓRSA and SIPTU).

My Department has set up a dedicated e-mail address to deal with all queries in relation to the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel and any queries in respect of the operation of the Panel can be directed to this dedicated e-mail address: snasupplementpanel@education.gov.ie.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (464)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

464. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason for the delay in the opening of a new school (details supplied); when the school community will be in a position to occupy the proposed temporary buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32232/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced plans in April 2018 for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new 600 pupil post-primary school to be established in September 2019 as a regional solution to serve the area to which the Deputy refers.

A planning application for the interim accommodation for the school was lodged with Meath County Council on 11 June 2019 and a decision is awaited.

My Department is in constant contact with the school's patron body Educate Together and agreement has been reached that pending the outcome of the planning decision alternative arrangements have been made for the school to open in Department owned accommodation in Laytown. 

Educate Together have communicated this position to parents of enrolled children, and I can confirm that the school will open as announced in suitable interim accommodation in September 2019.

When planning permission is secured the interim accommodation will be installed at the intended location and the school will revert to that location at the earliest possible date. 

State Pension (Contributory)

Questions (465)

Timmy Dooley

Question:

465. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills when employment contributions for a teacher (details supplied) who taught in schools on a temporary basis from June 1987 to January 1990 will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32239/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I refer the Deputy to my previous reply to Question No. 192 answered on 25th June 2019.  The records requested have been forwarded to the person referred to and officials of my Department have contacted her in relation to that query.

Separately, the Pension Unit of my Department is contacting the person in regard to a revision of her teacher’s pension to take account of additional service details of which she had submitted.

Consultancy Contracts Data

Questions (466)

Shane Cassells

Question:

466. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of external consultant reports commissioned by his Department in each of the years March 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the cost of same; the company involved; and the title and publication date by report, in tabular form. [32246/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Details of consultancy payments made by my Department for the years 2011 to 2018 inclusive are available on the Department's website https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Corporate-Reports/Financial-Reports/Expenditure-on-Consultancy. Information in relation to consultancy expenditure is compiled annually in respect of the previous year. The data in respect of 2019 will be published on our website at the end of the first quarter 2020.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (467)

Shane Cassells

Question:

467. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the photography costs for his Department in each year since March 2011 including costs incurred from use of the ministerial allowance; the occasions for which photographers were booked; the photographers used; the costs associated with each occasion that a photographer was used, in tabular form; if there is a policy regarding the booking of photographers within his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32263/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The table below provides a list of the photography costs for the Department since 2011. The Department books photographers when there is a requirement to do so for an event. Photographers are chosen based on the nature of the job and estimate received for the job.  In addition, Department officials regularly take photographs for use on social media.

Date 

Event

Photographer

Amount

30/06/2011

Copies of photographs of a school project and their use on an A1 display board for the joint RIAI/Department colloquium on school design

Donal Murphy   Photography

€381.15

 

 

 

 

12/06/2012

Visit of UN Special Representative on Violence against children

Fennell Photography

€301.35

 

 

 

 

24/07/2013

Changes to third level fees for migrant students

Maxwell Photography

€154.98

06/09/2013

National Parents Council Anti Bullying Launch

Maxwell Photography

€172.20

07/10/2013

Photos ahead of trade mission to Brazil

Maxwell Photography

€154.98

02/12/2013

Digital Strategy for Schools

Maxwell Photography

€404.93

 

 

 

 

23/05/2014

Photography for ISSU

Maxwell Photography

€413.28

29/05/2014

Winners of Irish History Competition

Maxwell Photography

€361.62

 

 

 

 

15/08/2015

Jan O'Sullivan Seal of Office

Maxwell Photography

€17.22

 

 

 

 

03/06/2016

Action Plan for Disadvantaged Schools

Maxwell Photography

€516.60

10/06/2016

Music Bursary Scheme awards

Maxwell Photography

€499.38

15/09/2016

Action Plan for Education Launch

Maxwell Photography

€ 981.54

17/10/2016

EIB Loan Agreement Signing

Maxwell Photography

€120.54

 

 

 

 

06/02/2017

Department Action Plan Launch

Phocus Photography

€492.00

14/03/2017

Literacy and Numeracy Strategy

Fennell Photography

€497.20

25/04/2017

Active Schools Week Launch

Maxwell Photography

€499.38

20/06/2017

Digital Strategy Launch

Maxwell Photography

€522.37

26/06/2017

Music Generation Photography

Fennell Photography

€369.00

23/08/2017

Minister Mitchell O'Connor Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€189.42

25/08/2017

Minister Bruton Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€223.86

06/09/2017

Minister Halligan Portraits

Maxwell Photography

€504.30

22/09/2017

Digital Learning Framework for Schools

Fennell Photography

€  95.00

17/10/2017

Minister Bruton Photocall

Fennell Photography

€109.25

06/11/2017

Gender Taskforce Launch

Jason Clarke   Photography

€492.00

11/12/2017

Physical Education Announcement

Maxwell Photography

€412.05

20/12/2017

Minister Bruton Computer Science Announcement

Maxwell Photography

€393.60

21/12/2017

Minister Mitchell O'Connor Funding Announcement

Maxwell Photography

€430.50

 

 

 

 

09/04/2018

Action Plan Launch 

Maxwell Photography

€473.55

09/04/2018

Photography PE as a LC Subject 

Maxwell Photography

€412.05

16/04/2018

Announcement on contract Signing Higher Education Marino

Fennell Photography

€162.03

24/04/2018

Ministerial Photography DIT Grangegorman 

Maxwell Photography

€356.70

14/05/2018

Launch at Warrenmount Primary School

Maxwell Photography

€375.15

25/06/2018

Non-mainstream Music Education Bursary Scheme 2018 awardees

SON Photographic Ltd

€430.50

29/08/2018

TU announcement Grangegorman 

Maxwell Photography

€393.60

09/10/2018

Photography for Consent report 

Maxwell Photography

€528.90

09/10/2018

Minister Mitchell O'Connor and THEA photocall 

Fennell Photography

€276.75

12/11/2018

Photography UK Sec of State visit

Maxwell Photography

€375.15

12/11/2018

Announcement of €11.9 billion investment in Education as part of Project Ireland 2040

Maxwell Photography

€418.20

12/11/2018

Key Provisions Announcement

Fennell Photography

€461.25

12/11/2018

Workshop on consent & Tackling sexual issues

Fennell Photography

€276.75

19/11/2018

Announcement on co-funding of re-development of Royal Irish Academy of Music

Fennell Photography

€461.25

10/12/2018

Gender Taskforce launch 

Fennell Photography

€492.00

 

 

 

 

22/01/2019

Launch of Review of the national Access

Fennell Photography

€461.25

22/01/2019

Announcement with HEA 

Fennell Photography

€276.75

27/02/2019

Photo Print of Minister

Irish Photo Archive Ltd

€85.13

03/04/2019

Action Plan for Education Launch

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€645.75

23/04/2019

Photography for Consent Launch

Fennell Photography

€461.25

08/07/2019

CLIL Launch Maynooth University

Julien Behal Photography Limited

€522.75

10/07/2019

Senior Academic Leadership Initiative event 

Jason Clarke Photography

€492.00

10/07/2019

Consultative meeting on substance abuse Writers Museum 

Jason Clarke Photography

€522.75

A list of the use of photographers by my Department since March 2011.  

Departmental Legal Costs

Questions (468)

Shane Cassells

Question:

468. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenditure incurred in respect of external legal fees in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32280/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The expenditure incurred by my Department in respect of external legal fees during the years in question is as follows:

Year

Expenditure on external legal fees

2011*

€21,039.83

2012

€4,674.00

2013

€20,964.24

2014

€14,526.00

2015

€29,470.80

2016

€92,715.50

2017

€46,790.62

2018

€106,312.43

2019

€5,165

 *expenditure shown is for the full year.

Departmental Expenditure

Questions (469)

Shane Cassells

Question:

469. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenditure incurred in external information technology costs in each year since March 2011, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32297/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In responding to the Deputy’s question, external Information Technology costs have been interpreted as comprising the IT spend on the Schools Broadband Programme,  IT contractor services, IT external service providers and IT research and advisory services that provide specialist technical support to deliver IT projects as required.

Year

Spend

2011

€8,183,709

2012

€8,219,653

2013

€8,672,268

2014

€10,461,669

2015

€11,512,176

2016

€16,691,984

2017

€16,744,516

2018

€14,849,451

2019 ( projected)

€14,723,029

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (470)

Jan O'Sullivan

Question:

470. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost for a school project (details supplied); when the new school building will be completed and fully in use; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32347/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan. 

Works on the project commenced on site February 2019, with an anticipated contract duration of 19 months. As works are currently ongoing, a final cost for the project is not known at this stage.

Subject to no significant issues arising throughout the course of the works, the school will be ready for occupation in the third quarter of 2020.

School Uniforms

Questions Nos. 472 to 475, inclusive, answered with Question No. 336.

Questions (471)

Declan Breathnach

Question:

471. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a report has been carried out on the impact that the introduction of generic school uniforms would have on stockists, wholesalers and manufacturers and embroiders of school uniforms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32360/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I appreciate the important role played by stockists, wholesalers and manufactures of schools uniforms.

However, I believe that we have to continue to put a greater emphasis on reducing the cost of school uniforms and other costs for parents. 

My Department published measures to be adopted by schools to reduce the cost of school uniforms and other costs,  in consultation with parents, in circular  32/2017. This includes principles of cost-effective practices to be adopted, including generic rather than branded items, use of sew-on or iron-on crests, and all elements of a uniform being available from various stores.

The Circular advises that all elements of a school uniform should be purchasable from various stores. The Circular also advises that schools should consult with parents on their views and suggestions on cost reduction initiatives. It is to be expected that in some schools there will be a divergence of opinions on what type of school uniform students should wear. To ensure that the views of all parents are catered for, the Circular is requesting that schools provide parents with the option to purchase all elements of a school uniform from various stores.

Ultimately any decision on school uniforms is a matter for the board of management of each school in consultation with parents.

It is important that schools consult with parents and the school community, and the  Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019 will require each school to implement a Student and Parent Charter in accordance with national guidelines to be published by the Minister after consultation with the education partners,  including the recognised national associations of parents.  One of the key concepts in the Bill is the need for schools to seek to reduce the costs to parents as far as is practicable.

Subject to Government approval, I intend to publish the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill in the Autumn.

Questions Nos. 472 to 475, inclusive, answered with Question No. 336.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Questions (476)

Denise Mitchell

Question:

476. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a school (details supplied) has been informed that it will lose six special needs assistant posts from September 2019 while hours are to be cut by one hour per day for the four existing posts; the reason for the decision; if he will reconsider this cutting of supports for students; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32384/19]

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.

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 27th September 2019.

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

Protected Disclosures

Questions (477)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

477. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of protected disclosures for which he has engaged an external consultancy, legal firm or both since 2014 to date; the name of the firms engaged; the year and the costs associated with engaging the consultancy, legal firms or both in respect of protected disclosures; the way in which persons are protected in cases in which an external consultancy firm is engaged in respect of protected disclosures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32397/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Protected Disclosures Act 2014 aims to protect workers who raise concerns about possible wrongdoing in their workplace. External consultancies contracted on behalf of a Minister by his/her Department are required to adhere to the obligations regarding protection of the person making the discloser as set out in the Act.

Information on the engagement of consultancies by my Department in cases where the Protected Disclosures Act was invoked is set out below.

 Claims made under the PDA- 1

 Consultants

 Year Engaged

 Cost

 

 Betterboards

 2017

 €2,460 (2018)

 

 Raiseaconcern 

 2018

 €0 to date

Teacher Career Breaks

Questions (478)

Noel Rock

Question:

478. Deputy Noel Rock asked the Minister for Education and Skills if increments and pension entitlements of teachers who may return in 2019 to teaching posts here, having taught abroad during the recession and having previously worked here as teachers, will reflect years of earlier service here; if not, if the Teaching Council will categorise the teachers as newly registered (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32408/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy may be aware that I recently visited the UAE on an Education Trade mission where I met with many Irish teachers to discuss the challenges they  face in returning to Ireland and to consider ways that we can work together to support them, when and if they decide to return to work here.

A teacher returning from having taught abroad must have current registration with the Teaching Council of Ireland to be appointed to a post in a recognised school.  Where a previously registered teacher wishes to apply for re-registration with the Teaching Council an application for registration is made under S31 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015.

I can confirm that a fully qualified registered teacher who was previously employed in a post in a recognised school  and  who had accrued a number of years incremental credit prior to leaving that post shall be placed on the incremental point s/he held on resumption of teaching duty. The criteria for the award of incremental credit to recognised primary and post-primary teachers, including for teaching service outside the EU, is set out in Circulars 10/2001, 29/2007.

In general, if a teacher’s absence was approved leave e.g. a career break, their membership of their pension scheme remains unchanged and they will continue to accrue pension benefits in the scheme on return.  However if the absence was not approved leave and they have a break in public sector employment in excess of 26 weeks, on return they will become members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme.  Their pension entitlement, if any, accrued under their previous pension scheme will be preserved.  All teachers who joined the public service on or after 1 January 2013 and who are working in a pensionable post are in the Single Public Service Pension Scheme.

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Questions (479)

David Cullinane

Question:

479. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to an application by a school (details supplied) for an emergency works grant for roof repairs or replacement; the status of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32409/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the school to which he refers was recently approved funding under my Department's Emergency Works Scheme to carry out roof works.  The school authority has been informed of this decision and the project has been devolved to it for delivery.

School Transport Appeals

Questions (480)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

480. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the decision not to grant a free school bus ticket will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32419/19]

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

 Bus Éireann has advised that the child in question is not attending her nearest post primary centre and is therefore not eligible for school transport.

Only eligible children who hold valid General Medical Service Scheme cards are exempt from school transport charges. 

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only. Concessionary transport is subject to a number of terms and conditions including the availability of spare seats on an existing service and payment of the annual charge.

The family should liaise with their local Bus Eireann office if they wish to avail of transport on a concessionary basis. 

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

School Transport Appeals

Questions (481)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

481. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the decision not to grant a free school bus ticket will be reviewed in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32420/19]

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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 scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. 

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

Children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time are accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation.

Children who are not eligible for school transport, but who complete the application process on time, are considered for spare seats that may exist after eligible children have been facilitated; such seats are referred to as concessionary seats. Where the number of applications from ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available, tickets are allocated using an agreed selection process. 

Only children who are eligible for school transport and who hold valid Medical Cards are exempt from paying the annual charge.

Bus Éireann has advised that an application for transport was received for the children referred to by the Deputy for the 2018/19 school year.  The family is advised to contact their local Bus Éireann office in regard to the provision of transport for the upcoming 2019/20 school year. 

The terms of the scheme are applied equitably on a national basis.