Teacher Redeployment

Questions (272)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

272. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position with regard to allowing teachers to transfer from one county to another (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34916/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24 of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).

The redeployment arrangements at primary and post-primary are the first method to fill vacancies in the school system. The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers to other schools where vacancies exist.

Once the redeployment processes have completed, schools with permanent vacancies may proceed to open competition to fill these vacancies. It is open to any teacher to apply for these vacancies as they arise.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (273)

Jack Chambers

Question:

273. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the planned secondary school for west Blanchardstown, Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34964/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, a new post primary school for the Blanchardstown area is included in the 42 new schools announced in 2018.

In line with the policy on the use of State assets (Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Circulars 11/15 and 17/16), in the first instance my Department is seeking to maximize the use of sites already in its ownership and of available properties in the ownership of other State bodies, where these are considered suitable.

In that context, Department officials are currently considering identified potential site options.

School Enrolments

Questions (274)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

274. Deputy Stephen Donnelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available to parents and children where demand for local secondary school places exceeds supply; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34972/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that in relation to schools admission, parents can choose which school to apply to and where the school has places available, the pupil should be admitted. However, in schools where there are more applicants than places available, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. However, this may result in some pupils not obtaining a place in the school of their first choice. The Deputy will note however that the selection process procedures and enrolment policy are the responsibility of the individual school authorities.

Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to  disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy that principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parent’s choice are respected.

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 where a board of management make a decision to refuse enrolment, a parent/guardian can appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Where the appeal involves an Education and Training Board (ETB) school, the appeal must be made to the local ETB in the first instance. Further information on the Section 29 Appeals process is available on my Department's website at the following link:

https://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/Appeal-against-Permanent-Exclusion-Suspension-or-Refusal-to-Enrol/

In addition, the Educational Welfare Service (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the legal body which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school placement for their child. The EWS can be contacted at 01-7718815.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (275)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

275. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the impact on returning emigrants who cannot access student grant funding which excludes them for three years on their return; his plans to change the criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34978/19]

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 relating to nationality, residency, previous academic attainment and means.

With regard to residency, in order to be eligible for a grant, a "student", as defined in Section 14 of the Student Support Act 2011, must demonstrate that he/she has been resident in the State for at least 3 years out of the 5 year period ending on the day before the start of his/her approved course of study.

This requirement takes cognisance of students who wish to take time out to travel or work abroad. Such students can still meet the residency requirement if they have not been outside the State for more than two of the previous five years.

It is also possible for students, who did not meet the residency requirement at the commencement of their studies, to have their eligibility reviewed if they meet the residency requirement during the course of their studies.

School Services Staff

Questions (276)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

276. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the costing of the pay claim made by a union (details supplied) on behalf of school secretaries and other non-teaching staff; when a decision will be made on the pay claim; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35000/19]

View answer

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 had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives in May 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 issued surveys on the 10th of July 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 these surveys.  The Department is fully open to having further dialogue with FÓRSA once this work has been undertaken.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (277)

Jack Chambers

Question:

277. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure the July provision is available to all children with Down syndrome who require it; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35008/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's July Provision Scheme provides funding for an extended school year for students with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The scheme was developed to reduce potential regression in learning associated with these specific categories of special education needs over the summer holidays.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) which advises me on these matters published its Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism in July 2016 which included a review of the July Scheme.

The review found that in general parents value July provision because it provides day-time respite for families and a structured day for students. However, the NCSE review found a number of problems with the scheme. These include concerns that the scheme may be inequitable because it is not provided to all students with complex special educational needs.

The Council recommended that the relevant Government Departments consider how an equitable national day activity scheme could be developed for all students with complex special educational needs.

The proposed scheme would provide a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs, which might include some children with Down syndrome.

My Department has convened an Implementation Group to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered.

There has been consultation with a number of other Departments and State agencies regarding the future direction of the July Education Programme. 

It is expected that the Group will make recommendations shortly concerning a revised scheme which would be implemented next year at the earliest.  Before any changes are made, there will be consultations with stakeholders.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (278)

John Lahart

Question:

278. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress to date with the building timeline for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35054/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The school building project referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under the Department’s Design and Build programme.  Planning permission has been secured and Tender documentation is currently being prepared.

School Funding

Questions (279)

Alan Kelly

Question:

279. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of the funding and support package announced in summer 2019 for schools (details supplied); the criteria under which the funding is being given; and the way in which other schools in County Tipperary can avail of such funding and support packages as a matter of urgency. [35076/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

There has been a lengthy period of engagement between the schools in Tipperary town and my Department regarding the socio-economic circumstances of the town and the supports required to best meet the needs of their pupil cohort.

Following a meeting on 31 July this year, correspondence was issued to the schools involved.  This drew their attention to the School Excellence Fund and the fact that it is open to applications until the 27th September.  It also set out the procedures and provided the link for schools to appeal their allocation of supports to help support those pupils that require English as an Additional Language (EAL) assistance. This appeal mechanism requires schools to demonstrate that they have high concentrations of pupils requiring (EAL) support.  This appeal mechanism and the School Excellence Fund application process are open to all schools. 

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) have developed actions research projects following their development of two web-based resources, A Balanced Approach to Literacy Development in the Early Years and Effective Interventions for Struggling Readers - Revised 2018. Both of these web based resources are available to all teachers and schools and enable them to access information on evidence-based approaches to support literacy development in the early years and intervention programmes for pupils with specific literacy difficulties.  NEPS have already conducted action research projects in clusters of schools to train and engage with these resources in Limerick, Kilkenny and Waterford.  For the coming academic year, NEPS have included the schools in Tipperary town in this initiative.

As the Deputy is aware, my Department is currently undertaking data analysis in the context of resource allocation to match identified need.  All schools at both Primary and Post Primary are being assessed using the new identification model.  This analysis is being carried out by members of the DEIS Technical Group which contains representatives of the Department’s Statistics and Social Inclusion Units, the Inspectorate and the Educational Research Centre. Work is ongoing by this group, including consultation with relevant experts. Until this analysis is complete, it is not intended to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.

What is apparent from analysis is that Tipperary, relative to other towns of comparable size, has a high level of deprivation at Electoral Division level to the extent that it exceeds the level found in all other towns of a similar size. The level of deprivation is comparable with that seen in some inner city areas, whilst at the same time none of the primary schools in Tipperary town were in the DEIS programme.

I, therefore, considered it appropriate to assign a temporary additional teacher post for the 2019/2020 school year only, in line with existing terms and conditions.  This post will be shared equitably across the 5 schools with the objective of improving educational outcomes for targeted students.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (280)

Bobby Aylward

Question:

280. Deputy Bobby Aylward asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding SUSI’s special rate of maintenance and the cutting of same upon the death of a person within the household in receipt of a qualifying long-term social welfare payment; the steps he will take to ensure that students in such a situation do not suffer a significant reduction in their maintenance payment; if the issue will be addressed in a budgetary context; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35089/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

SUSI implements procedures for the timely, sensitive and confidential handling of exceptional circumstances applications. These include allowing students to repeat periods of study in exceptional circumstances such as the death of a parent.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can also 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 Officer in the third level institution attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

Pension Provisions

Questions (281)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

281. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a full pension will be granted to a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35115/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The person referred to by the Deputy is currently in receipt of pension but is not satisfied with the amount of service with an ETB that has been deemed non-pensionable for the purpose of pension calculation.  She met recently with the ETB to query the pensionable status of the service in question and she is not satisfied with the outcome.

The position regarding a review process was outlined to this person by my officials last month who remain available to advise on options in this regard.

Education and Training Provision

Questions (282)

Peter Burke

Question:

282. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of investment (details supplied) in counties Longford and Westmeath since 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35143/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The investment in education and training services in counties Longford and Westmeath under the headings requested by the Deputy are as follows.

Special Education 

The Department estimates that the average total cost for school years 2016/17 to 2018/19 of special education teachers and special needs assistants is on the order of some €127 million. Given that these payroll costs usually account for approximately 88% of overall special education need expenditure, the notional total amount  expended over the period in Longford and Westmeath could be reasonably estimated as being on the order of €144 million.

School Transport

Bus Éireann has confirmed that in 2018, the overall spend on contractors for the provision of School Transport Services was €1.49 million in Longford and €3.49 million in Westmeath. Detailed information requested for 2016 and 2017 is not readily available. In this regard, Bus Éireann has been requested to collate this information and it will be forwarded to the Deputy when ready.

New build schools/Emergency Works/Summer Works scheme

Since 2016, expenditure on new building projects in Longford and Westmeath was €0.76 million and €22.47 million respectively. This figure does not include expenditure under the Additional Accommodation Scheme.

In relation to the Summer Works Scheme, the total expenditure was €1.48 million for projects in Longford and €1.67 million for projects in Westmeath. 

Through the Emergency Works Scheme, from 2016 to date, there has been €0.21 million expenditure in Longford and €1.20 million expenditure in Westmeath.

In relation to the other costs requested by the Deputy, the Department of Education and Skills does not allocate or record these budgets on a county basis.

Pension Provisions

Questions (283)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

283. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is a mechanism or his plans to introduce a mechanism to enable teachers to revert to their original pension status later in their career in view of the fact that under circular 07-2013 the status of a second level teacher's pension will change if the teacher ceases teaching for more than 26 weeks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35170/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Deputy will be aware that the Single Public Service Pension Scheme, as provided for in the Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme and Other Provisions) Act 2012 came into effect from 1 January 2013. 

There are no plans to introduce a mechanism to enable teachers to revert to their original pension status if they become members of the single pension scheme following a break of more than 26 weeks as the scheme is provided for by legislation.

The circular to which the Deputy refers outlines the broad terms and benefits of the Single Pension Scheme. It details how teachers and special needs assistants employed in a pensionable post on or after the 31st December 2012 will remain in their pre-existing pension schemes. However, if their employment ceases, then any subsequent rehiring would be on a Single Scheme membership basis, unless such rehiring takes place within 26 weeks of leaving the previous post.  Approved absences such as maternity leave and career breaks are not regarded as a break in service for this purpose.

Education Policy

Questions (284)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

284. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that have consulted with parents regarding religious instruction or worship in community or education and training board schools in line with section 4 of Circular 0013/2018; the number of schools that have changed their practice regarding religious instruction or worship following this consultation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35181/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Following publication of Circular 0013/2018, a further Circular 0062/2018 was published by my Department to remove any ambiguity about how religious education and religious instruction are delivered in those schools.

Circular 0062/2018 clarifies that in respect of arrangements for religious instruction that students should only be provided with a place in any religious instruction class where there has been a parental request or where appropriate the student, for admission to the class. That choice replaces mandatory placement by the school in religious instruction classes.

Where schools decide to provide for religious instruction classes, parental requests for a place in such classes are unlikely to occur only in a small number of cases. Schools are advised to read both circulars 0013/2018 and Circular 0062/2018 in conjunction with one another.

Education Data

Questions (285)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

285. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that offer an alternative subject to religious instruction or worship in line with Circular 0013/2018. [35182/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Following publication of Circular 0013/2018, a further Circular 0062/2018 was published by my Department to remove any ambiguity about how religious education and religious instruction are delivered in those schools. Students should only be provided with a place in a religious instruction class where there has been a parental request for admission to that class. Where a parent has made a choice for their child, or where appropriate the student, to participate in a religious instruction class, this eliminates any necessity for subsequent withdrawal from that class and the provision of alternative subjects.  Schools are advised to read both circulars 0013/2018 and Circular 0062/2018 in conjunction with one another.

Chaplaincy Services Provision

Questions (286)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

286. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding allocated to chaplains in community and education and training board schools in 2018; and the number of chaplains appointed in 2018. [35183/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department allocates chaplain posts to Education and Training Boards (ETB) and Community and Comprehensive schools and colleges. There are currently 156 whole time equivalent chaplain posts allocated to these schools. The annual cost is approximately €9.8m.

The appointment of chaplains to these schools flows from the original agreements concluded when the schools concerned were established. The chaplains perform pastoral and counselling roles and play an important role in supporting student well-being.

Those chaplains who are registered as teachers with the Teaching Council can also teach a minimum number of hours per week.

Teacher Training Provision

Questions (287)

Ruth Coppinger

Question:

287. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Education and Skills the participation level in in-service training for the human and cultural diversity aspect of the social personal and health education curriculum; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35184/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Teachers at primary and post primary level have access to a range of continuing professional development programmes and support (CPD) through the teacher support services funded by my Department. This support encompasses human and cultural diversity.

The overall remit of the Health and Wellbeing team within the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) is to support management, teachers and schools in the development and promotion of students’ mental, emotional, social, sexual, personal and physical health and wellbeing in the context of a positive health-promoting school environment. This is enabled through the provision of a suite of CPD programmes and supports which are notified to schools annually.

Full details of participation levels in this programme of support during 2018/2019 are provided in the table.  

Support provided by the Junior Cycle for Teachers service (JCT)

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) have developed a short course in SPHE in the context of the new Framework for Junior Cycle (2015). Schools can implement this short course in the context of the development of their junior cycle programme. It is expected that more and more schools will introduce this short course as the new Framework embeds in schools. The short course (100 hours duration) adopts a learning outcomes approach which encompass the issues of human and cultural diversity.

Last year 206 teachers attended CPD workshops provided by JCT in relation to this new short course, while 205 teachers engaged in a dedicated online webinar provided by JCT on the short course. Currently, there are over 678 teachers registered with JCT to attend CPD on the new SPHE short course in 2019/2020 which represents a significant increase on 2018/2019 figures, indicating an increasing interest from schools in introducing the new short course.

All CPD programmes and supports provided by Department funded support services include provision for teaching and learning in the inclusive classroom through differentiated teaching methodologies. These programmes enable teachers to deal with the teaching and learning needs of all students from all cultural backgrounds and provide support for pedagogical practices that promote inclusion.

Primary Health and Wellbeing (Sept 2018 – June 2019)

Focus of CPD

Term

No. of teacher CPD interactions

No of Events

Primary Child Protection seminars

Term 1 & 2

1646

108 events

Physical Literacy Fundamental Movement Skills Day 2 seminars

Term 1

726

49 events

Teaching Gymnastics Skills in PE workshops

Term 1

207

17 events

Primary RSE seminars

Term 1 & 3

1173

56 events

Stay Safe workshops

Term 1

214

21 events

Teacher Wellbeing

Term 2

36

3 events

Primary PE Workshops- Folk Dance

Term 2

178

14 events

Primary PE Workshops-Gymnastics

Term 2

38

3 events

Primary SPHE & Visual Arts Seminars

Term 2

159

19 events

Internet Safety, Cyberbullying & Bullying Seminar

Term 2

404

20 Events

Physical Literacy (FMS) seminar 3

Term 2

1060

55 events

Primary PE Workshop- An Introduction to Physical Literacy

Term 3

148

16 events

Primary Internet Safety, Cyberbullying & Bullying Seminars

Term 3

141

8 events

Physical Literacy (FMS) Seminar 3

Term 3

248

15 events

Post-Primary Health and Well-Being(Sept 2018 – June 2019)

Focus of CPD

Term

No. of teacher CPD interactions

No of Events

Introduction to SPHE ( 2 day seminar)

Term 1 & 2

1117

64 events

Mental Health SPHE 1

Term 1 & 2

143

9 events

Mental Health SPHE 2

Term 2

72

7 events

Junior Cycle RSE ( 2 day seminar)

Term 1, 2 & 3

906

48 events

Child Protection Designated Liaison Person & Deputy Designated Liaison Person

Term 1, 2 & 3

157

12 events

Anti bullying :Cyber bullying and internet safety

Term 2

55

6 events

Gender & Sexual Orientation

Term 2

16

2 Events

Snr Cycle RSE ( 2 day Seminar)

Term 1 & 2

790

38 events

JNR Cycle Personal Safety

Term 3

23

2 events

Post Primary PE Olympic Handball Workshop

Term 1

209

15 events

LCPE PLC Meetings

Term 1

62

8 events

SCPE PLC Meetings

Term 1

40

7 events

LCPE Seminars

Term 1

190

3 events

SCPE Seminars

Term 1

40

1 event

LCPE PLC Meetings

Term 2

67

10 events

SCPE PLC Meetings

Term 2

35

7 events

LCPE Seminar Day 6+7

Term 2

128

4 events

SCPE Seminar Day 4

Term 2

37

2 events

Using Digital Technologies in PE Workshops

Term 2

190

16 events

PE Workshop The TPSR Model-2hr Workshop

Term 3

19

3 events

LCPE Day 8

Term 3

59

2 events

LCPE PLC Meeting’s

Term 3

13

2 events

The total number of health and wellbeing school support visits at primary level was 490 with 5384 teacher CPD interactions.

The total health and wellbeing school support visits at post primary level were 137 school visits, meeting 2221 teachers.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (288)

Jack Chambers

Question:

288. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps being taken to ensure secondary school provision is matching expansion of housing in the Clonee and Ongar areas of Dublin 15; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35195/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in an area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential developments in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development.

With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.  Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022), including a new post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Blanchardstown West_ D15 & BlanchardstownVge_D15 school planning areas as a regional solution.

The requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard to the impact of the increased roll out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.  My Department will also continue to monitor areas where the accommodation of existing schools may need to be expanded in order to meet the needs of the local population. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (289)

James Browne

Question:

289. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the need for additional accommodation in a school (details supplied) in County Wexford will be examined; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35200/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has no current record of receiving an application for additional accommodation from the school in question. 

It is open to the school authority to make an application for additional accommodation through the 'Additional School Accommodation scheme (ASA)' which is available at www.education.ie.  I also wish to advise that since mid-2018 all schools approved for additional accommodation under my Department's Additional School Accommodation Scheme are also having necessary prefabs replaced as part of their additional accommodation project.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (290)

James Browne

Question:

290. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding funding to rebuild a secondary school (details supplied); the commencement date for works; the way in which the prioritisation of works has led to other schools being built ahead of this school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [35207/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The 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.

The major building project will deliver a new part single storey, part two storey and part three storey post-primary school of 6,786sqm to provide general classrooms, specialised classrooms, PE Hall, general purpose area, a unit for pupils with multiple disability visual impairment, ancillary teaching and staff accommodation. 

The project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning: Stage 2B – Detailed Design.  On satisfactory completion of Stage 2B the project will be authorised to pre-qualification of contractors. Pre-qualification normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks to complete.  When pre-qualification is complete the project will then be progressed to Tender Stage (Stage 3).  A tender stage normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete.

Capitation Grants

Questions (291)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

291. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of each one point increase in the capitation grant for primary schools. [35211/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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.  The first and full year costs of this increase is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 1% in Primary schools is circa €1 million. 

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.

Capitation Grants

Questions Nos. 293 and 294 answered with Question No. 249.

Questions (292)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

292. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of each one point increase in the capitation grant for post-primary schools. [35212/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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.  The first and full year costs of this increase is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 1% in Post Primary schools is circa €1 million. 

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.

Questions Nos. 293 and 294 answered with Question No. 249.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (295, 296)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

295. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of each one point reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio at primary level. [35215/19]

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Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Question:

296. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of each one point reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio for junior, senior, first and second class. [35216/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 295 and 296 together.

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

Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes.

The allocation of teachers to schools is on the basis of the whole school population.  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. 

Each 1 point adjustment to the primary staffing schedule is estimated to cost in the region of €14.4m per annum.