Thursday, 5 December 2019

Questions (116)

Bríd Smith

Question:

116. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of home tuition hours applications still awaiting sanction under the home tuition scheme; the reason for the ongoing delays; the budget allocation for the scheme for 2020; the number of pupils involved; the number of teachers affected; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [50844/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The purpose of the Home Tuition Grant Scheme is to provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of specific reasons, are unable to attend school. The Home Tuition Grant Scheme is not an alternative to a school placement and is provided in very limited and specific circumstances.

The Home Tuition Application form outlines that it may take the Department up to 15 working days to process home tuition applications. The Department is currently meeting these processing times. There are 25 applciations being processed at present.

There are currently 928 applications sanctioned on the Home Tuition Grant Scheme.

By its nature, the grant is intended to be a short term intervention until the school placement is available. Home Tutors are engaged by the parents/guardian of the child who is to receive tuition. Home tutors do not have a contractual relationship with the Department.

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.