Flood Prevention Measures

Questions (97)

Michael Healy-Rae

Question:

97. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be provided for works on a river (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42821/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for the maintenance of Arterial Drainage Schemes and catchment drainage schemes designated under the Arterial Drainage Acts of 1945 and 1995. The OPW is responsible for the Feale CDS which extends as far as Shanow Bridge on the regional road R557.  The OPW does not have responsibility beyond this point.

Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. Kerry County Council may carry out flood mitigation works using its own resources or apply for funding under the OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme.  The purpose of this scheme is to provide funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised fluvial flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The scheme generally applies where a solution can be readily identified and achieved in a short time frame. Works funded under the scheme are then carried out under Local Authority powers and ongoing maintenance of the completed works is the responsibility of the Council.

Under the scheme, applications are considered for projects that are estimated to cost not more than €750,000 in each instance. Funding of up to 90% of the cost is available for approved projects.  Applications are assessed by the OPW having regard to the specific economic, social and environmental criteria of the scheme, including a cost benefit ratio and having regard to the availability of funding for flood risk management. Full details of this scheme are available on www.opw.ie

Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme Applications

Questions (98)

Pearse Doherty

Question:

98. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Office of Public Works has received an application from Donegal County Council for funding under the non-coastal minor works funding programme in 2017; if so, the status of the application; the timeframe in which a decision can be expected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42837/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

Please see in the table the applications received in 2017 from Donegal County Council under OPW Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for non-coastal locations and the status of each application.

Project location

Project description

Status

Brookfield Bridge, Drumbar

Replace existing culvert

Application not approved, as flood risk in the area in question will be dealt with as part of FRMP proposal for Donegal Town.

Oatfield Terrace,  Letterkenny

Removal of structurally damaged pipes & installation of box culvert 3m x 2.1m.

Funding approved €224,460

Circular Road,Letterkenny

Installation of 98m of 750 diameter pipes

 

Funding approved €51,773

Murvagh Upper Glebe, Drumchory Glebe, Mullanacross and Ballybulgan

To undertake a review of the existing flood data to identify measures that could be implemented, to mitigate against future flooding of this area

 Funding approved €13,500

Capital Expenditure Programme

Questions (99, 100, 101)

Barry Cowen

Question:

99. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the changes proposed for major capital projects over €100 million; the expected cost of the changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42855/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

100. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of capital projects that cost €100 million or more in the past five years; the cost of outside consultants for each of the projects costing €100 million or more; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42873/19]

View answer

Barry Cowen

Question:

101. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of capital projects anticipated to commence in the next five years that cost €100 million or more; the expected cost of external consultants for each project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42889/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 99 to 101, inclusive, together.

Due to the nature of its role, my Department has had no major capital projects over €100 million funded through its own Vote in the past five years, nor is it expected to have any such projects in the next five years.

As part of the ongoing reform of Ireland’s public investment management systems, my Department is updating the Public Spending Code.  The purpose of this update is to strengthen the existing guidance to better align with the realities of project delivery and with a particular focus on improved appraisal, cost estimation and management.  The revised central elements of the Public Spending Code relating to the appraisal and management of public capital projects will be published before the end of the year. Further technical guidance building upon these central elements will follow in 2020.  

The update of the Public Spending Code highlighted the need for more structured scrutiny of major public investment projects focusing on the robustness of planned delivery, accuracy of cost forecasts, and consideration of risk.  My Department is developing a new governance and assurance process for major projects with an estimated cost of over €100 million. This new process is being informed by international best practice and will involve consultation with all major public sector stakeholders. It is likely to involve an independent external review of major projects at key stages. Options are being explored as to how to operate this approach. It may involve external reviews conducted by a panel of experts in infrastructure delivery and may draw on international expertise where relevant. The delivery of such reviews could be done in parallel with other elements of the development of public investment proposed interventions so as not to cause undue delay to those projects which will proceed. The detail of the process and arrangements for implementation will be scoped and developed with a target operational date of mid-2020.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (102)

Martin Heydon

Question:

102. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the design team for a school (details supplied) in County Kildare can provide a date for the completion of the stage 2b documentation. [42632/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The major building project referred to by the deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2(b) - Detailed Design, which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

The Design Team has confirmed that it is working on finalising the Stage 2(b) Report ensuring the new school building will be a "Near Zero Energy Building" (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations.

The Design Team Leader currently envisages that the Stage 2(b) Report will be with the Department for review in the coming weeks.

Upon completion, receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) submission, the Department will be in contact with the school regarding the progression of the project at that time.

School Transport Availability

Questions (103)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

103. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to increase the availability of school bus places in County Cork; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42633/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

The purpose of the 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.  Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school as determined by the Department/Bus Éireann, having regard to ethos and language.

All children who are eligible for school transport and who complete the application process on time have been 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.

Minister McHugh has sanctioned an additional €1m on the school transport budget to allow for temporary alleviation measures to address a shortage of school transport capacity on the post primary scheme in 2019. The cost of these measures has been given to those areas where there is a significant concentration of post-primary children who have paid on time for the 2019/2020 school year and who are attending their second closest school.  In this regard a number of measures have been confirmed to alleviate some of the capacity issues in the areas of highest demand in certain parts of the country.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (104, 105, 106)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

104. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of implementing the National Council for Special Education’s policy advice on educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders recommendation to extend the enhanced level of capitation grant to post-primary schools with special classes on the same basis as primary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42641/19]

View answer

Thomas Byrne

Question:

105. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the recommendations of the National Council for Special Education’s policy advice on educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders which have not yet been implemented; the timescale for implementation of these measures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42642/19]

View answer

Thomas Byrne

Question:

106. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the dates in 2018 and 2019 in which the implementation group for the National Council for Special Education’s policy advice on educational provision for children with autism spectrum disorders has met; and when it is next planned for this group to meet. [42643/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 to 106, inclusive, together.

Enabling children with Special Educational Needs including Autism to receive an education appropriate to their needs is a priority for Government.

There is now unprecedented investment in special education. The Government is spending nearly one euro in every five of the education budget on special education – about €1.9 billion in 2019. 

We have significantly increased the availability of specialist placements for children with special educational needs as well as bringing more and more children into mainstream education.

Budget 2020 provides for an additional 1,064 SNA posts and 400 newe special education teacher posts to cater for new need next year.

The National Council for Special Education’s Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders was published in July 2016.  The report acknowledges that there has been substantial investment in the education of students with autism over the 14 years since the publication of the last major report on autism in 2001.  The report set out 11 recommendations for further improvement and outlines a range of associated actions to give effect to its recommendations.

My Department has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and external representatives to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered and that a timetable for implementation is prepared. 

The group met on three occasions in 2018 and twice to date in 2019 with a further meeting due to be scheduled in the coming weeks. There are further sub-groups continuing to work and research options regarding the implementation of some of the outstanding recommendations.  The work of the Implementation Group is ongoing. 

A number of the recommendations in relation to school aged provision have been substantially implemented, including those on the development of additional primary and post primary provision, admissions to schools, operating of special classes, additional release days for teaching principals and the use of evidence-informed interventions.

Work is continuing on recommendations relating to on developing teacher knowledge, skills and understanding. My Department intends to publish comprehensive inter agency Good Practice Guidelines on the education of children with Autism in 2020. 

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

The NCSE estimated that implementing the school based recommendations in the report would cost an additional €20m per annum. 

Capitation funding, is intended to contribute towards the cost of heating, lighting, cleaning, insurance, general up-keep etc. My Department recognises the need to improve capitation funding for schools. Capitation grants are the main funding mechanism for schools to enable them meet their day to day running costs. The levels of capitation grants both primary and post primarty are examined annually as part of the estimates process and in the light of available resources.

Budget 2019 provided for a 5% increase in Capitation funding for primary and post primary schools effective from the start of the 2019/20 school year. Over the course of the school year 2019/20, an additional €10 million will be allocated to primary and post primary schools, of which €4 million will be allocated in 2019.

Budget 2020 provided that schools capitation for all schools will increase by a further 2.5% from September 2020. Enhanced capitation rates will increase by 7.5% from September 2020.

It should be noted that it is extremely difficult to make valid comparisons between the levels of grants paid and the actual costs of running schools at primary and post primary levels.  Primary ASD special classes receive an enhanced capitation grants of €849 per student enrolled inclusive of the mainstream capitation rate (currently €179 per students). Post Primary ASD special classes do not receive enhanced capitation.  However, the Post Primary mainstream capitation rate is €309 per student.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (107)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

107. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position with regard to the provision of additional places and classrooms for children with special needs in which a new building for an existing school is being provided under the capital programme and additional accommodation schemes; if new places and classrooms for children with special needs must be provided or planned in the location such a project is undertaken; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42644/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that in the case of all new schools as well as replacement schools, it is general practice to include a Special Education Needs Base (SEN Base) in the accommodation brief, unless local circumstances indicate that it will not be required. Typically, a two classroom SEN Base is provided in new primary schools and a two or four classroom SEN Base is provided in new post primary schools. 

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

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.  The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

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.  Similarly, where special schools wish to expand provision, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to accommodate additional placements.

Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available on www.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (108)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

108. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a child currently has access to a SNA but is told that reassessment is required to continue to qualify for access, but the assessments are not within six months due to resource and staff shortages, the way in which the child is to be supported in school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42653/19]

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.  

It is my Department's policy that every child assessed as requiring SNA support will have access to such support.

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.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (109)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

109. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools that are part of the school inclusion model, that is, the 75 schools in counties Kildare, Wicklow and south County Dublin areas currently participating; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42654/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

On 27 March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model, a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs, which is being piloted in 75 schools in the Kildare/Wicklow/South Dublin region in the current school year. 

The School Inclusion Model aims to build schools’ capacity and to provide the right supports at the right time for students with additional needs. 

The pilot also provides an opportunity for review and evaluation of proposals to ensure we are providing the most effective and efficient service to those requiring additional support.  

 The following is a list of the schools who are participating in the Pilot.

Roll   Number

COUNTY

School Name

18655C

Dublin

St Josephs BNS 

19466E

Dublin

St Kevin's Girls

17953F

Dublin

Scoil Náisiúnta Bhaile Eamonn

20194E

Dublin

St. John The Evangelist NS

19817H

Dublin

St Mary's National School

19617W

Dublin

St Martin De Porres National School

19574H

Dublin

Marley Grange National School

19542R

Dublin

St Thomas Junior National School

18642Q

Dublin

Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Eoin

19743E

Dublin

St Bernadettes JNS

20066S

Dublin

Lucan Educate Together National School

19503H

Dublin

Scoil Chrónáin

19221U

Dublin

Scoil Naomh Áine

19577N

Dublin

Scoil Íosa

17683C

Dublin

Loreto Junior School

19569O

Dublin

Scoil Aenghusa Junior National School

20173T

Dublin

St Anne's Primary School

19566I

Dublin

Our Lady Queen of Apostles

19837N

Dublin

Drimnagh Castle CBS National School

15622S

Dublin

St Patrick's National School

15625B

Dublin

St Catherine's West National School

17603B

Dublin

Scoil Iosagain

16964F

Dublin

Loreto Primary School

17356K

Dublin

Mourne Road Infants

20411J

Dublin

Firhouse Educate Together National School

13611D

Dublin

Presentation Primary School

17355I

Dublin

Our Lady of Good Counsel NS

11976K

Kildare

Scoil Chóca Naofa

16707I

Kildare

Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Pheadar

17341U

Kildare

Maynooth Boys' National School

00779U

Kildare

Presentation Girls Maynooth

18378C

Kildare

Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Ioseph

17995V

Kildare

Scoil Náisiúnta Oilibhear Plunglead

07790U

Kildare

Churchtown National School

18179T

Kildare

Scoil Naisiunta Bride Lackagh

16302F

Kildare

St Brigid's National School

18430B

Kildare

Scoil Náisiúnta Baile Roibeaird

17968S

Kildare

Ursaille Naofa

16706G

Kildare

St Joseph's National School

13350B

Kildare

Scoil Bride

15870O

Kildare

Scoil Chonnla Phadraig

18654A

Kildare

Caragh National School

18288B

Kildare

Scoil Mhichil Naofa

20271T

Kildare

Scoil N Naomh Uilig

06209J

Kildare

Athy Model School

13328I

Kildare

St Patrick's National School

19995I

Kildare

North Kildare Educate Together School

19897I

Kildare

Scoil Uí Riada

19550Q

Kildare

Ballymany Junior National School

18449W

Kildare

St Conleth's National School

18502A

Wicklow

Scoil Náisiúnta Naomh Brid

18054W

Wicklow

Hollywood National School

12688K

Wicklow

Kiltegan National School

20242M

Wicklow

Blessington Educate Together

91332O

Dublin

St Marks Community School

60851P

Dublin

Assumption Secondary School

60341P

Dublin

Sancta Maria College

70080T

Dublin

Lucan Community College

70021D

Dublin

Coláiste de hÍde

91302F

Dublin

Phobailscoil Iosolde

60890C

Dublin

St Louis High School

70240P

Dublin

Kylemore College

61681V

Kildare

Patrician Secondary School

61691B

Kildare

Scoil Dara

70691C

Kildare

Confey Community College

70730J

Kildare

Ardscoil Rath Iomgháin

70800E

Wicklow

St Kevin's Community College

60121B

Dublin

Moyle Park College

60490J

Dublin

CBS Westland Row

19277B

Kildare

St. Annes Special School

19455W

Kildare 

St. Marks Special School

20010

Dublin 

St. Roses Special School

19382V 

Dublin 

Scoil Eoin

18904U

Dublin

St Peters Special School

19151C

Dublin

St John of God

National Educational Psychological Service Staff

Questions (110)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

110. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills if staff in NEPS who take leave or maternity leave are replaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42656/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

In the event an educational psychologist at the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) is absent due to leave or maternity leave the schools concerned are given access to the Scheme for Commissioning of Psychologist Assessments (SCPA).

At the link is a copy of the Scheme for the Deputy's information.

SCPA Scheme

Psychological Assessments Waiting Times

Questions (111)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

111. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the length of time children who suffer a bereavement are expected to wait on waiting lists to be seen and assessed by psychologists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42657/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department’s Wellbeing Policy and Framework for practice has given recognition to the importance of promoting wellbeing in education.  It outlines a comprehensive, whole-school approach to the promotion of wellbeing and positive mental health. It focuses on the whole school community, as well as groups and individual young people with identified needs.  Schools promote wellbeing through a range of activities and approaches to support the academic, physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual development of all children and young people.

Each post primary school currently receives an allocation in respect of guidance provision, calculated by reference to the approved enrolment.  Counselling is a key part of the role of the Guidance Counsellor, offered on an individual or group basis as part of a developmental learning process, at moments of personal crisis but also at key transition points. The Guidance Counsellor also provides a referral of students to external counselling agencies and professionals. The Guidance Counsellor is key in developing and implementing innovative approaches to wellbeing promotion on a whole schools basis though the school’s Guidance Plan. 

The National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) in my Department provides consultation for school staff who may have concerns about individual students. NEPS supports schools in putting interventions in place for individuals with identified difficulties.  Consultation in relation to appropriate therapeutic interventions delivered in the school setting is also available. 

When counselling or more specialised intervention is considered to be required, a referral is made to an outside agency.  NEPS supports schools with this onward referral to the HSE and other local mental health services.

Home Schooling

Questions (112)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

112. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children being home schooled at primary level; if they are all in receipt of the home tuition grant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42658/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The Department of Education and Skills provides for the education of children through the provision of recognised schools. Recognised schools must fulfil a number of conditions regarding curriculum, inspection and other matters.

The Irish constitution recognises the family as the primary educator of the child and defines duties and responsibilities for parents and the State in the education of children.

Section 14 of the Education (Welfare) Act 2000 makes provision for parents to educate their children in places other than recognised schools, such as in the home or in non-recognised schools.

Children who are educated at home or who attend a non-recognised schools - must be registered with the Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency by their parents/guardians.

Parents must ensure their child receives a certain minimum education. There are detailed Guidelines on the Assessment of Education in places other than recognised schools. The guidelines provide a working definition of “a certain minimum education”. They describe home-based education and offer guidance on how it may be assessed. They also cover the legal background of home education.

Where parents choose to educate their children in places other than recognised schools they have made a decision not to avail of recognised schools.

They are not eligible to avail of resources which they may have accessed through enrolment in a recognised school and do not receive Home Tuition funding from my Department.

The data requested is not available from my Department.  Responsibilility for home schooling matters resides with my colleague, the Minister for Children & Youth Affairs. 

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (113)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

113. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school building for additional accommodation for a school (details supplied) in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42674/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the Additional Accommodation project at the School to which he refers was approved to proceed to the Planning Application Stage in early October, 2019.

As responsibility for the delivery of the project has been devolved to the school, it is now a matter for the Board of Management to advance the project.

School Transport Administration

Questions (114)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

114. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if consideration will be given to backdating a school transport grant in respect of a child (details supplied) in Dublin 11; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42695/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

The family of the pupil referred to by the Deputy has received the special transport grant for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 school years. The parents of the pupil have been advised that since their application was made on the 15th November 2016, they may submit a statement of attendance to the Department from this date to the end of the 2016/17 school year. 

Under the terms of the scheme, the payment of a grant is considered for the school year in which an application for transport is received. Grants are not paid retrospectively.

Capitation Grants

Questions (115)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

115. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of restoring capitation rates to pre-2010 levels following the implementation of increases announced in budget 2020. [42708/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to have been able to provide for a further 2.5% increase in standard capitation funding for primary and post-primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2020/21 school year. The combined increases given in 2019 and 2020 mean that circa 40% restoration will be achieved. 

In addition to the increase above the estimated cost of restoring the standard capitation to pre-2011 levels in primary and post-primary schools is circa €20 million. 

It is my intention to seek funding for further capitation increases in future budgets, however, I must have regard to the level of resources which will be available to my Department, in the context of the continuing need for the Government to prudently manage the economy and the public finances and have regard to risks, including those associated with Brexit.

Third Level Admissions Entry Requirements

Questions (116)

James Browne

Question:

116. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a decision by a college (details supplied) to refuse to accept an applicant’s residency in spite of SUSI and CAO’s acceptance of their residency; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42733/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Universities and institutes of technology, under the Universities Act 1997 and the Institutes of Technology Acts, are autonomous bodies and, as such, have responsibility for their own academic affairs, including issues relating to the admission of students.

Therefore, it is a matter for the institutes themselves to set admissions requirements for individual programmes of education and training and to ensure that students meet those requirements before commencing their studies.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (117)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

117. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a new school building for a school (details supplied); if the ETB in question has procured a design team on this project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42745/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the building project for the school to which he refers is being devolved for delivery to Cavan & Monaghan Educational Training Board (CMETB).

The first step in this process is the execution of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between my Department and CMETB. This is currently being arranged.

Once the SLA is in place, the ETB will procure a Design Team for the project to design the buildings, obtain the necessary statutory planning permissions, and move the project onward to tender and construction in due course. 

Special Educational Needs Data

Questions (118)

Jackie Cahill

Question:

118. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of emotional behavioural units in primary schools in County Tipperary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42747/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Firstly, it is important to clarify that the appropriate term is special class and not 'unit' when referring to the provision of special classes in mainstream schools.

11 special classes for emotional behavioural disturbance, 8 in mainstream primary schools and 3 in mainstream post primary schools will be provided for the 2019/20 school year, compared to 7 such special classes in 2011/12 school year. 

There are currently 76 special classes in County Tipperary; 1 for emotional behavioural disturbance, 68 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), 3 Mild General Learning Disability, 1 Moderate Learning Disabiilty and 3 Specific Speech and Language Disorder.

The National Council for Special Education is an independent statutory body, whose functions include planning and coordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs in conjunction with schools and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes responsibility, through its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SNEOs) for establishing special classes.  Applications meeting the criteria for establishment of special classes, including special classes for emotional behavioural disturbance are approved by the NCSE.  

The NCSE continues to monitor and review the requirement for special class places in particular areas and has capacity to establish such new classes or retain current classes where necessary, subject to the willingness of schools to open/retain classes.  The NCSE welcomes expressions of interest from schools in opening special classes to meet the demand for special class provision.  In deciding on the location of a special class SENOs take into account both the present and the future potential need for special class provision, and they must also be satisfied that the special class is sustainable and appropriately located.  SENOs liaise with relevant professionals in their area to arrive at an informed decision.

As the Deputy's question refers to the provision of further SSLD classes in this area, it has been forwarded to the NCSE for direct reply.

Further Education and Training Programmes Funding

Questions (119)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

119. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the value of funds to be made available for further education of the €174 million set aside for higher education. [42749/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Budget 2020 provided a Capital allocation in higher and further education including PPPs of €174m for the Higher Education, Further Education and Training, and Research sectors.  This will support infrastructure investments to expand student places and upgrade existing infrastructure. €18m of this figure is provided for Further Education and Training (FET).

The allocation received in Budget 2020 for FET is in line with the Capital Investment plan 2016 to 2021 and the additional €5m being provided will see another step towards the development of a dedicated capital programme for further education and training.  The quality of the settings in which further education and training is delivered is a strong theme emerging as the new Further Education and Training Strategy is being framed.  Alongside this, capital investment is required to support the Government’s plan to expand apprenticeship training. To deliver on this, capital investment in Further Education and Training in 2020 will focus on:

- Supporting the expansion of apprenticeship training and in renewing equipment to support new apprenticeship curricula,

- Beginning a programme of capital investment in integrated further education and training provision to replace provision in smaller unsuitable premises, and

- Improving the condition of existing further education and training buildings, including to address access and health and safety issues.

School Services Staff

Questions (120)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

120. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of permitting schools with enrolments of 700 or more to fill caretaker vacancies provided they have fewer than two caretakers under budget 2020. [42750/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The estimated first and full year cost of permitting ETB, Community & Comprehensive schools with an enrolment of 700 or more to fill Caretaker vacancies provided they have less than 2 is €0.7 million and €2.1 million respectively.

School Services Staff

Questions (121)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

121. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of permitting schools with enrolments of 500 to 650 to fill secretary vacancies provided they have fewer than 1.5 posts and schools with enrolments of 626 to 699 provided they have fewer than two posts filled under budget 2020. [42751/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The estimated first and full year cost of permitting ETB, Community & Comprehensive schools with an enrolment of 500-625 to fill Secretary vacancies provided they have less than 1.5 and enrolments of 626-699 to fill vacancies provided they have less than 2 is circa €0.3 million and €0.9 million respectively.