Schools Building Projects Status

Question No. 476 answered with Question No. 416.

Questions (475)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

475. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress in regard to completion works at the Maynooth Educational Campus, Moyglare Road Maynooth, County Kildare; the extent to which current activity on the site is in line with expectations; when both new schools will be ready for occupation; the extent to which alternative accommodation remains available for students coming on stream; the extent to which the curriculum remains functional or can be extended; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36649/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the tender process for the project to which he refers will be completed shortly. The work to complete the external fabric of both school buildings will be fully completed in time for the contractor appointed under the current tender process to begin its work on site. It remains the case that the buildings will be available for occupation prior to September 2020.

The pupils of the two schools that will be occupying the buildings in question are currently located in temporary accommodation. This accommodation is providing sufficient space to meet the needs of the schools for the 2019-2020 academic year. I can also confirm that the curricular needs of these pupils have not been impacted by these arrangements.

Question No. 476 answered with Question No. 416.

School Transport Eligibility

Questions (477)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

477. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which free school transport can be offered to the children of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36651/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

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.

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.

Bus Éireann has confirmed that there are still seats available on an existing service and the family should liaise with their local Bus Éireann 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.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (478)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

478. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which primary, post-primary and special needs cases are being provided for in line with demographics in respect of Celbridge, County Kildare; the extent to which proposals are reaching fruition in line with projections and local management requirements; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36652/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is also updated regularly.

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. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make application to the NCSE to establish a class. In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the SENO may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (479)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

479. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which educational provision needs to be enhanced in respect of primary and second-level education places in the context of existing schools or alternatives in Kilcock, County Kildare; if cognisance is taken of population expansion, the requirement in respect of special needs places and the requirements as set out by local management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36653/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

A major building project for St. Joseph's NS, Kilcock is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design which includes the application for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured. The Design Team is currently completing the prequalification process to select a shortlist of contractors for tender stage. The next stage of architectural planning for this project will be stage 3 – tender stage.

The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is also updated regularly.

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. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

The National Council for Special education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make application to the NCSE to establish a class. In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the SENO may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (480)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

480. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress to date in the advancement of primary and post-primary school projects in Naas, County Kildare; the extent to which existing work in this regard is progressing satisfactorily; if new initiatives are proposed to meet the demands of local management and the expanding population; if the requirements of children with special needs continues to be met; if required enhancement proposals are in hand; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36654/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is also updated regularly.

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. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), an independent agency of my Department, is responsible for planning, coordinating and advising on education provision for children with special educational needs. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Individual school boards of management are responsible for the establishment of special classes. It is open to any school to make application to the NCSE to establish a class. In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned. In this regard, the SENO may approach individual schools to discuss the matter with a view to finding the optimal location in terms of convenience and sustainability.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

School Placement

Questions (481)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

481. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which adequate primary school places remain available at Kill, County Kildare, with particular reference to the placement required by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36655/19]

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.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (482)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

482. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which proposals for a school (details supplied) for north County Kildare continue to progress; when it is expected the final provisions are likely to be agreed and if in accordance with previous indications; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36656/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has approved temporary accommodation for Gaelcoláiste Chill Dara and the installation of this accommodation has been devolved to the school authority for delivery. In addition, my Department has approved grant for remedial works to be undertaken to the school building. A consultant has been appointed and tender documents for these works are currently being prepared.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (483)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

483. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which primary and secondary school requirement in Leixlip, County Kildare continues to be a priority with a view to meeting the challenge of population growth now and in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36657/19]

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 8 classroom primary school to be established in 2019 to serve the Leixlip school planning area.

This announcement follows nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

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.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (484, 485)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

484. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which provisions and proposals remain adequate in respect of primary and post-primary school places to accommodate children in Prosperous, County Kildare; the extent of outstanding proposals in this regard; if progress to date remains in line with projections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36658/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

485. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which provisions and proposals remain adequate in respect of primary and post primary school places to accommodate children in Clane, County Kildare; the extent of outstanding proposals in this regard; if progress to date remains in line with projections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36659/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 484 and 485 together.

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

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

The Capital Programme also provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. Details of schools listed on this programme can be found on my Department's website www.education.ie and this information is also updated regularly.

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. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing schools. 

In April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). This announcement followed nationwide demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure. A new 16 classroom primary school (established in September 2019) in Ashbourne and a new special school in Dublin 15 were also announced in 2019 bringing the overall total to 44. While the announcement did not include a new school for the Prosperous_Clane school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

School Transport Data

Questions (486, 516)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

486. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which provision has been made for the restoration of free or concessionary school bus transport for children in the Rathcoffey and Donadea areas of County Kildare; the extent to which those children that previously had school transport withdrawn in the recent review can be restored; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36726/19]

View answer

Bernard Durkan

Question:

516. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in the Rathcoffey and Donadea areas of County Kildare whose access to free or concessionary school transport has been discontinued in the course of recent reviews; the number reinstated or pending in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36907/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 486 and 516 together.

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

The purpose of my Department's School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are eligible for school transport and who have completed the application process on time will be accommodated on school transport services where such services are in operation for the 2019/20 school year.

Children who are not eligible for school transport may apply for transport on a concessionary basis only and will be facilitated where spare seats are available after eligible children have been accommodated. Where the number of ineligible children exceeds the number of spare seats available Bus Éireann will allocate tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process.

Bus Éireann advise that a total of 48 pupils who applied for school transport from the area referred to by the Deputy were not allocated tickets, 18 were concessionary children who were not successful in obtaining a seat following the selection process, 15 were concessionary children who did not make a payment by the payment date are were therefore not included in the selection process, and 15 eligible children did not make a payment by the payment date and therefore did not receive tickets.

Fee Paying Schools

Questions (487)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

487. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent of public funds that are provided to fee-paying schools; the number of fee-paying schools receiving public funds; and the number of pupils supported by such funds. [36744/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Gross salaries paid to teachers in 51 fee charging schools in the 2017/2018 school year amounted to €91,660,946 (€96.2 million including employers PRSI contributions). There were 25,606 pupils enrolled in fee charging schools in the 18/19 school year.

In 2018 there were a total of 114 posts allocated by the NCSE for special needs in fee charging schools. The posts are allocated based on the needs of the children and the number of posts changes each year according to the care needs required. Approximately €4,000,000 was paid in salaries to Special Needs Assistants in fee charging schools in 2018/2019 school year.

Capital funding of €268,428 was provided to fee charging secondary schools in 2018.

Apprenticeship Data

Questions (488)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

488. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of funding provided for apprenticeships. [36746/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The 2019 budget allocation for apprenticeship training is €142m which represents an increase of over 16% on the 2018 allocation of €122m. The 2019 allocation is apportioned between SOLAS (€105m) and the HEA (€37m) and will support an apprenticeship population which is forecast to be in excess of 18,000 by the end of 2019.

Student Grant Scheme Expenditure

Questions (489)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

489. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of funding provided under the SUSI grants scheme. [36748/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In 2019, €404.45m was provided for in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) for student support and related expenditure. It is anticipated that circa €380m of this funding will be spent on SUSI grants and related activities.

DEIS Expenditure

Questions (490)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

490. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount of funding provided for DEIS schools over and above normal school funding. [36749/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department’s overall annual spend on the DEIS Programme is approximately €125 million. Additional funding is provided by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for the School Meals Programme and by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs for the School Completion Programme.

The substantial annual investment by my Department on the DEIS Programme includes the provision of;

- 415 Home School Community Liaison Coordinators serving 533 schools, catering for approximately 156,000 pupils.

- Additional posts for DEIS Band 1 primary schools to allow for a reduced pupil teacher ratio.

- Curriculum supports

- Priority access to continuing professional development

- School Excellence Fund - DEIS

- DEIS grants and enhanced book grants.

The full list of supports available to DEIS Schools is available on my Department’s website at the following link: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/DEIS-Supporting-Information/Supports-to-DEIS-Schools.html

In the 2019/20 school year there are 891 schools participating in the DEIS Programme serving over 183,000 pupils and the full list of schools (broken down by Urban Band 1, Urban Band 2, Rural and Post-Primary) is available also on my Department’s website at the following link;

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

The list also gives the location of each school.

The number of schools participating in the DEIS Programme can change slightly year on year taking account of both school amalgamations and school closures. 79 schools were added to the DEIS Programme for the first time from September 2017 following the application of the new DEIS identification process and 30 more schools were upgraded from Band 2 to Band 1.

Each DEIS school is paid an annual DEIS Grant which the school should use to support those pupils most at risk of educational disadvantage. The following table gives details of DEIS Grant expenditure for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years and the latest data available for the 2019/20 school year.

School Year

Total Primary €

Total Post Primary

2017/18

€12,154,155

€4,007,245

2018/19

€12,175,367

€4,034,588

2019/20

€12,266,105

Figure not available – grants are scheduled to issue in September 2019

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Questions (491)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

491. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost in the first year and in a full year for every one point reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio at primary level. [36750/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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 €4.7m in the first year and €14.4m for the full year.

Special Educational Needs Expenditure

Questions (492)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

492. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost in the first year and in a full year for every 100 new special needs assistants recruited. [36751/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The cost of employing 100 Special Need Assistants in the first year from September to December 2019 is estimated at €0.9m.  The full year cost is estimated at €2.8m.

This estimated cost includes the pay increases under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 to 2020 and employers PRSI.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (493)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

493. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of special needs assistants in the education system; the overall pupil-to-SNA ratio; his plans to improve the ratio; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36752/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

Third Level Fees

Questions (494)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

494. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first year and full year cost for every €100 reduction in the student contribution charge. [36753/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Student Contribution, which currently stands at €3,000, was introduced with effect from the 2011/12 academic year. It is important to recognise that there has been no increase in the contribution since 2014/15. 

Based on the overall number of students that qualified for free fees funding in the academic year 2018/19 (and were therefore liable to pay the Student Contribution), and taking into account expected increases in student numbers, the estimated net cost to my Department of reducing the contribution by €100 is €7.9m. This figure is based on the student projections for 2019/20.

It should be noted that the above estimates incorporate the resulting reduction to my Department's Student Grant Scheme budget as the exchequer pays this contribution (or part of it) on behalf of almost 50% of undergraduate students who are in receipt of student grant assistance.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Questions (495)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

495. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first year and full year cost of changing the qualifying criteria for the non-adjacent rate of the third-level grant from 45 km to 24 km. [36754/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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 first year cost of "decreasing the non-adjacent rate of third-level grants from 45 km to 24 km" is estimated to be in the region of €11.5m. The full year cost of this proposal would be in the region of €26m.

The above costings assume that a change to the distance criterion would result in a similar percentage of students qualifying for the higher non-adjacent grant support, as existed pre Budget 2011.

Student Grant Scheme Expenditure

Questions (496)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

496. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first year and full year cost of every 1% increase in grants under the SUSI scheme. [36755/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The estimated cost of increasing all SUSI maintenance grants by 1% would be €775k in the first year (Sept-Dec) and €1.7m for the full year cost.