Thursday, 24 September 2020

Questions (152)

Michael McNamara


152. Deputy Michael McNamara asked the Minister for Education the reason a school (details supplied) has not received an additional teacher; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [26190/20]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on the Department website. 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.

There is no change to the staffing of the school referred to by the Deputy in the current school year.

Department Circular 13/2017 in relation to Special Education Teaching allocation to primary schools sets out that schools should ensure that the additional Special Educational Needs Teaching supports are used in their entirety to support pupils identified with special educational needs, learning support needs, and additional literacy needs. The additional Teaching Resources which are being provided under this model cannot be used for mainstream class teaching, or to reduce the pupil teacher ratio in mainstream classes, or to provide additional subjects for pupils who do not have special educational needs.

My Department has carefully considered correspondence from the school referred to by the Deputy in accordance with the requirements of the public health guidance for reopening primary schools. My Department is satisfied that the requirements of the public health guidance can be implemented in the school within the existing classroom teacher allocation.

My Department has published a suite of helpful guidance for the safe and sustainable reopening of schools including illustrative Primary Classroom Layouts to facilitate physical distancing requirements for primary 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.