Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (136)

Bríd Smith

Question:

136. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education further to Parliamentary Question No. 424 of 15 September 2020, if a school, having previously appealed a reduction in staff under grounds contained in circular 0018/2020, can now appeal this reduction under different grounds or grounds not captured in the circular but connected to new difficulties as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and taking the necessary public health measures advice by her Department (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26046/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September. The staffing schedule operates in a clear and transparent manner and treats all similar types of schools equally irrespective of location.

The staffing schedule includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria to an independent Appeals Board. Information on the appeals process is contained in Circular 18/2020. My Department has not received a staffing appeal from the school referred to by the Deputy.

Schools wishing to submit an appeal should do so using the application form contained in Circular 18/2020. As part of the appeal process the Appeals Board will consider appeals where schools clearly demonstrate how their enrolments were negatively impacted by COVID-19.

My Department has also published a suite of helpful guidance for the safe and sustainable reopening of schools. Each school is also required to have a COVID-19 Response Plan for the safe operation through the prevention, early detection and control of COVID-19 in line with public health advice. This guidance is focused on the practical steps schools must take to minimise the risk of transmission of infection.