Schools Amalgamation

Questions (249)

Catherine Martin

Question:

249. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to meet and engage with representative committees (details supplied) which represent stakeholders from schools and wish to engage productively with his Department to avoid the closure of two schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44920/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the recommendation to amalgamate the schools in question has been accepted following detailed consideration of the proposal from Cavan Monaghan Education and Training Board, patron of both schools and the submissions received from the groups referred to by the Deputy. The recommendation from the patron to amalgamate the existing schools into a new building, will now proceed.

The Patron advised that an invitation to consultation meetings was forwarded to the Boards of Management of both schools in question and to all representative groups identified in both communities. In total, eleven groups were identified and meetings arranged between February and July 2019. The Patron advised that the majority of the meetings proceeded and the majority views taken into consideration. A small number of meetings were cancelled by the group/association concerned and did not proceed.

The two schools will continue to operate from the existing school sites until a new school building is provided. It is envisaged that the construction phase for the new amalgamated school will be facilitated with investment available during the second half of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018 to 2027.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (250)

Catherine Martin

Question:

250. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the need for a new secondary school in Midleton, County Cork has been assessed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44921/19]

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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. For school planning purposes Midleton is located in the Midleton_Carrigtwohill school planning area.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that 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 development 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.

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). While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Midleton_Carrigtwohill school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in 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.

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.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (251)

Catherine Martin

Question:

251. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) will have an ASD unit in place for second-level students by the commencement of the 2020-2021 school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44922/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The provision of education for children with special needs is an ongoing priority for Government.

Currently, almost 20% of the total Education Vote or €1.9bn is invested in supporting children with special needs. The numbers of special classes, special education teachers and Special Needs Assistants are at unprecedented levels. Nationally, 167 new special classes opened for the 2019/20 school year, which means there are 1,618 special classes in place, compared to 548 in 2011. Of these 1,353 special classes cater for students diagnosed with ASD.

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).

The Council has well established structures in place to plan and coordinate special education provision throughout the country. This includes identifying the need for and establishing special class placements in various geographical areas where they are required. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Before approaching a particular school to request the establishment of a special class, the NCSE take into account both present and future potential need within the area and must be satisfied that the class is sustainable and appropriately located.

The NCSE is continuing its work at local level to ensure all children can access a suitable school placement for the forthcoming school year and beyond.

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.

In the case of all new schools, it is general practice to include a Special Education Needs Base (SEN Base) in the accommodation brief for new school buildings, 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 brief for the school building project in the school referred to by the Deputy is to provide a new 1000 pupil post primary school and 4 class Special Educational Needs unit together with all ancillary accommodation on a site off the Ballyogan Road adjacent to Leopardstown Racecourse.

Planning permission was granted by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council on the 13th June 2019 subject to 18 no. conditions. Two of these conditions relating to the provision of a public greenway were subsequently the subject of a first party appeal to An Bord Pleanála; the decision on which is currently awaited.

It is not possible to give a timeframe for the delivery of this project until the statutory consents are secured.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Question No. 253 answered with Question No. 191.

Questions (252)

Robert Troy

Question:

252. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a full-time SNA has been allocated to a person (details supplied). [44928/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

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

Question No. 253 answered with Question No. 191.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (254)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

254. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a full-time SNA will be allocated for a child (details supplied). [44971/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

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

Higher Education Institutions

Questions (255)

Tony McLoughlin

Question:

255. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the importance of sufficient canteen facilities being made available to third-level students undertaking courses; his further views on whether the service of food is a vital welfare issue for students; if his attention has been drawn to a situation (details supplied); the steps he will take to help resolve same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44977/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

Higher education institutions are autonomous institutions and their governance and day-to-day management, including the operation of canteen services are matters for which the Governing Bodies and the management of the relevant institutions are responsible.

Notwithstanding the above, my Department has been advised by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) that a review of the canteen service in St. Angela’s College was commissioned by the Audit Committee in early 2019. The review was carried out by a local Auditing Firm/Catering Business Manager. The Audit Committee of the College met on the 26th of April and considered the findings and recommendations from this review. Financial issues in the operation of the service were key factor in the recommendations of the review. Additionally the review identified the need for changes to service for both Staff and Students.

The report included a plan to restructure and implement new services so that it would operate as a viable business operation.

The following actions were subsequently approved by the Board of Directors of the College. The Canteen reopened in September with a revised reduced offering which is being regularly updated. It should be noted that this is Phase 1 of the new plan and is centred on increasing footfall, income generation and future sustainability of the service.

The operation of the Canteen is under weekly review and it is expected that under Phase 2 of the project will be implemented once sufficient footfall and revenue projections suggest that this is a viable and sustainable operation going forward. This phase will provide further enhancements to the offerings, the canteen space itself and the opening hours which will benefit both students and staff.

Additionally, proposals in relation to future capital investment in St Angela’s are currently being developed by for consideration by the HEA and the Department of Education and Skills.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (256)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

256. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for a place in an ASD unit will be processed for a person (details supplied). [44992/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The provision of education for children with special needs is an ongoing priority for Government.

Currently, almost 20% of the total Education Vote or €1.9bn is invested in supporting children with special needs. The numbers of special classes, special education teachers and Special Needs Assistants are at unprecedented levels. Nationally, 167 new special classes opened for the 2019/20 school year, which means there are 1,618 special classes in place, compared to 548 in 2011. Of these 1,353 special classes cater for students diagnosed with ASD.

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).

The Council has well established structures in place to plan and coordinate special education provision throughout the country. This includes identifying the need for and establishing special class placements in various geographical areas where they are required. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents/ guardians of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role in relation to processing applications for enrolment to schools.

The NCSE team of locally based Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) are available to assist parents/guardians to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs and to discuss their child's special educational needs.

The NCSE works in collaboration with the Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency which is the statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child or can offer assistance where a child is out of school. The local service is delivered through the national network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWO). Contact details are available at http://www.tusla.ie/get-in-touch/education-and-welfare/ .

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. The 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. Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to publish its enrolment policy.

It should be noted that where a parent/guardian seeks to enrol a child in a school and that school refuses to enrol the child, the school is obliged to inform the parents/guardians of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Only where an appeal under Section 29 is upheld, may the Secretary General of my Department direct a school to enrol a pupil.

As the deputy's question refers to a specific child, the question will be forwarded to the NCSE for direct reply.

School Funding

Questions (257)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

257. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the level of funding provided through school capital programmes for each county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45042/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department's Capital Programme continues to make progress to increase the infrastructural capacity in the schools sector nationally, in order to meet demographic and other demands.

The Capital Programme details the school projects that are being progressed through the architectural planning process. 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.

The School Capital Programme allocation, on a national basis, for the period 2016 to 2019 is set out in the following table. These allocations are not divided on a county basis:

2016

2017

2018

2019

€527m

€496m

€539.6m

€622m

My Department’s website shows the current position on all school projects on the Capital Programme, as well as listing the schools that have had large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date. These are listed on a county basis. The information is available at www.education.ie and is updated regularly.

The 2019 School Capital Programme allocation (amounting to €622m) will be expended primarily on the delivery of large scale projects and on the Additional Accommodation Scheme. The balance available in 2019 will be expended on site acquisitions, the Summer Works Scheme, the Emergency Works Scheme, furniture and equipment provision and other smaller programmes.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Questions (258)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

258. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of additional special needs assistants provided in each county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45043/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

The NCSE publish SNA allocations for individual schools and counties for each school year and this information is available on their website, https://ncse.ie/set-hours-and-sna-allocations .

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (259)

Anne Rabbitte

Question:

259. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the level of funding provided for the provision of ASD units in each county in each of the years 2016 to 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45044/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The specific information requested by the Deputy is not available within my Department. Building projects by their nature include the provision of accommodation for various purposes including special needs and the overall project cost therefore includes the cost of all accommodation provided as part of an individual school project.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of building projects being delivered by my Department may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie .

Large scale projects, including new schools, being delivered under the school building programme are listed by county along with school name and address. The current status of each school project is also provided.

In addition, a list of large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date, - again broken down by county -, along with school name and address may also be viewed on the website.

Regarding other types of projects, - for example additional accommodation, emergency works etc. - , information on these is also available on my Department’s website and includes the school details and the nature of the works.

The status of projects listed on my Department’s website is updated on a regular basis to reflect their progress through the various stages of design, tender and construction.

The provision of education for children with special needs is an ongoing priority for Government. Currently, we spend almost 20% of the total Education Vote or €1.9bn on supporting children with special needs.

Departmental Contracts Data

Questions (260)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

260. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the details of contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by his Department or bodies under his aegis that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45062/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department reports on non-compliant procurement as part of the Appropriation Account and the Statement of Internal Financial Control provides information on such cases. The information is readily available for 2017 and 2018. Information in relation to 2019 will be compiled during the completion of annual accounts in March 2020 and will be available shortly thereafter.

Non-compliant contracts in 2017

The Department was compliant with all relevant guidelines regarding procurement in 2017, with the exception of procurement totalling €1.76 million. The exceptions occurred for several reasons as set out below:

- Three contracts in the value range €25,000 to €60,000, totalling €122,528, were undertaken without a competitive process – two with a total value of €71,897 related to sole/limited supplier availability reasons and the other with a value of €50,631 related to urgency/business continuity reasons.

- Four contracts in the value range €100,000 to €200,000 per annum, totalling €555,899, were undertaken without a competitive process – three contracts with a total value of €412,772 related to sole/limited supplier availability reasons and the other with a value of €143,127 to urgency/business continuity reasons.

- Two contracts over €500,000 per annum, with a total value of €1,085,660, were undertaken without a competitive process. One with a total value of €520,024 related to business continuity reasons and the other with a value of €565,636 related to urgency/expediency reasons.

Non-compliant contracts in 2018

The Department was compliant with all relevant guidelines regarding procurement in 2018 with the exception of procurement totalling €2.880 million.

The exceptions occurred for several reasons as set out below:

- Nine contracts in the value range €25,000 to €100,000, totalling €499,372, were undertaken without a competitive process – three with a total value of €133,748 related to sole/limited supplier availability reasons and six with a value of €365,624 related to urgency/business continuity reasons.

- One contract with a value of €212,849 related to sole/limited supplier availability reasons.

- Two contracts over €500,000 per annum, with a total value of €2,003,367 were undertaken without a competitive process. One with a total value of €535,624 related to sole/limited supplier availability reasons and the other with a value of €1,467,743 related to urgency/expediency reasons.

The information sought in regard to the contracts of €25,000 or more that have been awarded by the bodies under the aegis of my Department that were found to be non-compliant with procurement guidelines is being collated and I will arrange for my officials to forward it to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

Departmental Records

Questions (261)

Kevin O'Keeffe

Question:

261. Deputy Kevin O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will release information to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection in respect of a person (details supplied); and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Department has sought this information on three occasions. [45075/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that officials from my Department have issued the information requested directly to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Questions (262)

Seán Haughey

Question:

262. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure that there will be a place for a person (details supplied) in an ASD unit for September 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45098/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The provision of education for children with special needs is an ongoing priority for Government.

Currently, almost 20% of the total Education Vote or €1.9bn is invested in supporting children with special needs. The numbers of special classes, special education teachers and Special Needs Assistants are at unprecedented levels. Nationally, 167 new special classes opened for the 2019/20 school year, which means there are 1,618 special classes in place, compared to 548 in 2011. Of these 1,353 special classes cater for students diagnosed with ASD.

Opening new special classes and the enrolment of students is a matter for individual schools in the first instance. My Department has no role either in making or deciding on enrolment applications to schools or keeping waiting lists. In these matters, schools are required to adhere to the requirements of relevant legislation and the policies of my Department.

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).

The Council has well established structures in place to plan and coordinate special education provision throughout the country. This includes identifying the need for and establishing special class placements in various geographical areas where they are required. The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

The NCSE team of locally based Special Education Needs Organisers (SENOs) are available to assist parents to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs and to discuss their child's special educational needs. The local SENO contact details are available on www.ncse.ie .

Normally, special classes are established with the full cooperation of the schools in areas where they are required. However there are some parts of the country where the Council has faced challenges in getting schools and their Patrons to voluntarily agree to provide special class or school places. I know that this can cause much anguish for parents and families involved.

As Minister I have a power under Section 37A of the Education Act 1998 to direct a school to provide additional provision where all reasonable efforts have failed.

The NCSE is continuing its work at local level to ensure all children can access a suitable school placement for the forthcoming school year and beyond.

As Minister, I would much prefer that schools provide the necessary places for the children in their community. Where this is not the case, however, I am prepared to use the legislation to ensure that children can access a suitable education.

As the Deputy's question relates to an individual child, I have arranged for the question to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Schools Establishment

Questions (263)

Mary Butler

Question:

263. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to open an educate together primary school in Dungarvan, County Waterford; if the location is part of his commitment in the reconfiguration process; the timescale envisaged; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45127/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

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

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

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

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (264)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

264. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 222 of 15 October 2019, when the appointment of a programme manager and design team process commenced; when the process will finish; when the next stage will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45156/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the project to which she refers has been devolved to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) for delivery as part of a programme of school building projects.

The process for the appointment of a multi-disciplinary technical advisory framework for the programme commenced in August 2019, when a request for tenders (RFT) was issued.

There was a very positive response to this RFT. In that respect, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the process of selection of applicants for this framework is almost complete.

The NDFA will proceed immediately to the second phase of the appointment process: a call-off competition for bundles of projects from this framework. While the project to which the Deputy refers will not be included in the first call-off competition in this respect, later call-offs will follow shortly after this initial competition has concluded. Thereafter, the NDFA will ensure that the project progresses to design stage, obtaining the necessary statutory planning permission, and moving the project onward to construction in due course. As the project to which the Deputy refers is at an early stage in the delivery process, it is not possible at this time to give a date for its completion.

Please be assured that the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (265)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Question:

265. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the new post-primary school on the Curragh is due to commence; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that nothing is happening with a school (details supplied). [45157/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

As the Deputy is aware, this project has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB) for delivery.

As the tender process for the project is nearing completion, the letter of acceptance is expected to issue very shortly. The project will commence construction this month and is expected to be ready for occupation in September 2021.

School Accommodation Provision

Questions (266)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

266. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for an extension and further accommodation at a college (details supplied). [45176/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department is in receipt of an application for additional accommodation from the patron of the school referred to by the Deputy. The application is being considered in the context of current and future demographic demand in the area and my Department will be in contact with the patron in this regard shortly.

In the meantime, my Department has approved additional temporary accommodation consisting of 8 general classrooms and 1 science lab to meet the school’s immediate needs.

Schools Establishment

Questions (267)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

267. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the provision of a new secondary school in Dunshaughlin, County Meath is being considered. [45177/19]

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.

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.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future. Approximately 40% of extra school places are delivered by extending existing 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). The announcement followed nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country.

Dunshaughlin post-primary school planning area is catered for by Dunshaughlin Community College. The school operates under the patronage of Louth and Meath Education and Training Board (LMETB) and has a current enrolment in the region of 1,000 pupils. The school is experiencing demand for additional school places and the LMETB is open to assisting in meeting this demand. The ETB has submitted an application for additional accommodation which my Department is currently considering. The outcome will assist my Department in determining the future need in the area. In the meantime, my Department has approved the provision of additional temporary accommodation - 8 general classrooms and 1 science lab - to LMETB to meet the school’s immediate needs.

While the announcement did not include a new post-primary school for the Dunshaughlin 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.

Schools Building Projects Status

Questions (268)

Aindrias Moynihan

Question:

268. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a construction project at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45178/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

A project to provide a new building for the school to which the Deputy refers is on my Department’s capital programme. At present, my Department is engaged in identifying and acquiring a suitable site for the school. The acquisition of a suitable site will enable architectural planning to proceed and construction commence. Every effort is being made to advance the project.