Consular Services

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<h3>Questions (126)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_126">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Gary-Gannon.D.2020-02-08/">
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<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Gary-Gannon.D.2020-02-08/">Gary Gannon</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Gary Gannon</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_1999" class="">126. <strong>Deputy Gary Gannon</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs</strong> the number of times consular assistance has been provided in circumstances in which an issue has arisen at an airport or other point of international travel due to the fact that a parent or guardian has a different surname from that of his or her child. [7787/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-126">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_366">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">Minister for Foreign Affairs</a>
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<p id="para_2000" class="">I can advise the Deputy that my Department places the highest priority on providing consular support and assistance to all our citizens, and particularly where a child’s interests are concerned. </p>
<p id="para_2001" class=""> While there may be instances where issues have arisen at airports or other points of international travel due to the fact that a parent or guardian has a different surname than their child, my Department is not necessarily informed of all of such instances and does not maintain a statistical record in relation to these specific issues.</p>
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Covid-19 Pandemic

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<h3>Questions (127)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_127">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Róisín-Shortall.D.1992-12-14/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Róisín-Shortall.D.1992-12-14/">Róisín Shortall</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Róisín Shortall</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2002" class="">127. <strong>Deputy Róisín Shortall</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Foreign Affairs</strong> the steps he is taking to prevent travellers from Dubai, Portugal and other locations from using Dublin Airport as a back door to the UK; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7822/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-127">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Foreign)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_367">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/image/thumb" alt="Simon Coveney"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">Minister for Foreign Affairs</a>
</h4>
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<p id="para_2003" class="">All passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have a negative/'not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland. Passengers are also asked to present evidence of their negative/‘not detected’ result before boarding their airplane or ferry, and are required to produce this evidence to Immigration Officers on arrival at points of entry to the State. These rules apply to individuals who travel to Ireland from the United Arab Emirates and Portugal. Additional requirements currently apply to travel to Ireland from South Africa or Brazil. </p>
<p id="para_2004" class=""> Any passengers coming into Ireland from overseas and travelling onwards to Northern Ireland must complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form, available online. The Government's official advice, as stated on Gov.ie, is that such "passengers travelling to Northern Ireland must ensure that they are familiar with the guidance and regulations in place, including the completion of a UK Passenger Locator Form".</p>
<p id="para_2005" class=""> New regulations signed by the Minister for Health on 5 February require passengers transiting to Northern Ireland to provide full contact details, including address information. As arrangements are finalised on data-sharing, an interim measure has been agreed whereby the Department of Health will provide a text message service to passengers who travel from this jurisdiction onwards to Northern Ireland.</p>
<p id="para_2006" class=""> Passengers who arrive in Ireland solely for the purpose of travelling to another State and do not leave the airport are not required to provide evidence of a test. However, they will be subject to the public health regulations at their final destination.</p>
<p id="para_2007" class=""> Irish authorities are in daily communication with UK counterparts to advise of transiting traffic so that the appropriate public health measures are put in place on arrival, including for UK nationals and residents. The UK has not imposed a ban on residents returning home.</p>
<p id="para_2008" class=""> There are ongoing discussions at official and political level with the British Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on COVID-19 and travel issues.</p>
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Civil Defence

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<h3>Questions (128)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_128">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Duncan-Smith.D.2020-02-08/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Duncan-Smith.D.2020-02-08/">Duncan Smith</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Duncan Smith</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2009" class="">128. <strong>Deputy Duncan Smith</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Defence</strong> if online training has been carried out for members of the Civil Defence during 2020; his plans for such online training in 2021; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7577/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-128">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Defence)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_368">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Simon-Coveney.D.1998-10-23/">Minister for Defence</a>
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<p id="para_2010" class="">Covid 19 impacted on Civil Defence training provision during 2020. Most of the courses delivered in 2020 were provided through blended learning. For example a number of Local Authorities facilitated online learning for volunteers, and this training was supported and certified by the Civil Defence College. In addition, the development of new assessment methods, such as video based assessment, and scenario based assessment, allowed the Civil Defence College to certify Civil Defence Volunteers in certain disciplines. These methods facilitated volunteers in completing required assessments in their own time and within their Local Authority. Where volunteers were required to physically attend training, procedures were put in place to ensure effective social distancing and health and safety guidelines were followed.</p>
<p id="para_2011" class=""> Working with the Local Authorities, my Department will continue to examine options for online training with a view to enhancing online training provision in 2021.</p>
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School Transport

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<h3>Questions (129)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_129">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Brendan-Smith.D.1992-12-14/">Brendan Smith</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Brendan Smith</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2012" class="">129. <strong>Deputy Brendan Smith</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> further to Parliamentary Question No. 402 of 17 December 2020, the progress to date in increasing school bus capacity in view of the need to accommodate more students attending both primary and post-primary schools; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7485/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-129">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_369">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
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<p id="para_2013" class="">School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 113,100 children, including over 14,500 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020.</p>
<p id="para_2014" class=""> All children who are eligible for school transport and who completed the application and payment process on time have been accommodated on school transport services for the 2020/21 school year where such services are in operation. The closing date for payment for the 2020/2021 school year was Tuesday 4th August 2020.</p>
<p id="para_2015" class=""> 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 allocates tickets for the spare seats using an agreed selection process. </p>
<p id="para_2016" class=""> Following updated health advice from NPHET on 18th August, which was that post-primary services are required to operate using 50% of passenger capacity, Government has agreed to provide the necessary funding to ensure that full implementation of this public health recommendation is achieved as quickly as possible on all post-primary services. As the additional capacity is rolled out, where spare capacity is created, further tickets will be allocated to those children eligible for the scheme who have paid late and for other applicants seeking concessionary tickets.</p>
<p id="para_2017" class=""> To date circa 83% of total post-primary routes are in a position to operate at 50% capacity, comprising 78% of SEN post-primary and 86% of mainstream post-primary, and planning is underway for all remaining routes to be implemented at 50% capacity in the coming weeks; this will be progressed as schools reopen.</p>
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Special Educational Needs Staff

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<h3>Questions (130, 131, 132, 133)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_130">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire"/>
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<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2018" class="">130. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of SNAs employed in September 2019 in special classes in secondary schools. [7497/21]</p>
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<div class="question" id="pq_131">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2019" class="">131. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of SNAs employed in September 2019 in mainstream classes in secondary schools. [7498/21]</p>
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<div class="question" id="pq_132">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire"/>
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<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2020" class="">132. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of SNAs employed in September 2019 in special classes in primary schools. [7499/21]</p>
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<div class="question" id="pq_133">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire"/>
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<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2021" class="">133. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of SNAs employed in September 2019 in mainstream classes in primary schools. [7500/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-130_131_132_133">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_370">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Josepha Madigan"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">Minister of State at the Department of Education</a>
</h4>
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<p id="para_2022" class="">I propose to take Questions Nos. 130 to 133, inclusive, together.</p>
<p id="para_2023" class=""> The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for the planning and cordination of education provision for children with special educational needs including the allocation of SNA posts.</p>
<p id="para_2024" class=""> The following table outlines the number of SNA posts allocated to schools at September 2019. In addition, 2,556 SNA posts were allocated to special schools in September 2019. Information of the number of people employed to fill the posts allocated is not available.</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2025" class=""/>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2026" class="">SNA posts</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2027" class="">Primary Mainstream </p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2028" class="">7,752 </p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2029" class="">Post Primary Mainstream</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2030" class="">2,458</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2031" class="">Primary Special Classes</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2032" class="">2,171</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2033" class="">Post Primary Special Classes</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2034" class="">825</p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p id="para_2035" class=""> Budget 2021 provided for an additional 990 additional Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) posts for allocation to schools, bringing the total numbers to 18,000 by the end of December 2021. This allocation of SNAs is to meet the care needs of pupils in 2021 and will enable the establishment of new special classes, creation of new places in special schools, support children in mainstream classes and the transition to the new allocation model for the 2021/22 school year.</p>
<p id="para_2036" class=""> The Budget 2021 increase to 18,000 SNAs posts represents an increase of increase of 70% in the number of SNAs provided since 2011 at which point 10,575 SNAs were available.</p>
<p id="para_2037" class=""> The NCSE has published statistical information regarding SNA allocations for all schools which can be accessed on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie or by using the following link http://ncse.ie/statistics.</p>
</div>
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</div>

Special Educational Needs Staff

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (134, 135)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_134">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire"/>
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<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2038" class="">134. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of children in mainstream primary school classes receiving the assistance of an SNA in September 2019. [7501/21]</p>
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</div>
</div>
<div class="question" id="pq_135">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Donnchadh-Ó-Laoghaire.D.2016-10-03/">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/134/question/135/" data-share-text="Special Educational Needs Staff" title="Share question #135 by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire">
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2039" class="">135. <strong>Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the number of children in mainstream secondary school classes receiving the assistance of an SNA in September 2019. [7502/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-134_135">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_371">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Josepha Madigan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">Minister of State at the Department of Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<p id="para_2040" class="">I propose to take Questions Nos. 134 and 135 together.</p>
<p id="para_2041" class=""> The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) have provided figures for Primary and post primary pupils in main stream classes recieving assistance from Special Needs Assistans at the end of the 2018/19 school year. The information is provided in the table below. </p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2042" class=""/>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2043" class="">Pupils</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2044" class="">Post Primary</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2045" class="">4853</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2046" class="">Primary</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2047" class="">15697</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2048" class="">Grand Total</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2049" class="">20550</p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
<p id="para_2050" class=""> The NCSE has responsibility for planning and coordinating school supports for children with special educational needs including the allocation of SNAs and reviews. My Department does not have a role in making individual school determinations.</p>
<p id="para_2051" class=""> The Special Needs Assistant (SNA) scheme is designed to provide schools with additional adult support staff who can assist children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs. Such support is provided in order to facilitate the attendance of those pupils at school and also to minimise disruption to class or teaching time for the pupils concerned, or for their peers, and with a view to developing their independent living skills.</p>
<p id="para_2052" class=""> SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource. The deployment of SNAs within schools is a matter for the individual Principal/Board of Management of the school. SNAs should be deployed by the school in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised. </p>
<p id="para_2053" class=""> SNA support is allocated to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which provides details of the primary care needs for which SNA support will usually be provided and sets out the types of secondary care associated tasks which SNAs may often perform, but only once they have been allocated on the basis of a requirement to provide for primary care needs. </p>
<p id="para_2054" class=""> The NCSE has published details of SNA allocations for all schools which are available to view on a per county basis. Details can be accessed on the NCSE website at www.ncse.ie or by using the following link: http://ncse.ie/statistics.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

School Catchment Areas

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (136)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_136">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Duncan-Smith.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Duncan-Smith.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Duncan Smith"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Duncan-Smith.D.2020-02-08/">Duncan Smith</a>
</h4>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Duncan Smith</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2055" class="">136. <strong>Deputy Duncan Smith</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the secondary school catchment areas into which housing estates (details supplied) in County Dublin fall; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7509/21]</p>
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</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-136">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_372">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<p id="para_2056" class="">In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data in a way that takes account of the significant local and regional variations in demographic trends and enrolment projections, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas (SPAs). </p>
<p id="para_2057" class=""> Using school planning area boundaries within my Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) allows data within those boundaries, including data for enrolments in schools, child benefit and other relevant data to be added to the mapping information, grouped and analysed. </p>
<p id="para_2058" class=""> The school planning areas are used in the demographic exercise as a basis for the assessment of areas of growth and to inform recommendations on the establishment of any new schools required in that school planning area. In urban areas, in particular, data relating to adjacent school planning areas is also used to inform our consideration of requirements. There are no current plans to revise school planning areas.</p>
<p id="para_2059" class=""> For school planning purposes, St Doolaghs, St Samsons &amp; Castlemoyne Balgriffin housing estates are located in the Portmarnock school planning area. </p>
<p id="para_2060" class=""> All new schools established since 2011 to meet demographic demand are required to prioritise the enrolment of children from within the designated school planning areas which the school is being established to serve. Malahide Portmarnock ETSS is one such school and was established to serve both the Malahide_Nevinstown and Portmarnock school planning areas. However, it is important to note that this does not preclude these schools from enrolling pupils from outside of the designated school planning area(s), rather it reflects the need to accommodate in the first instance the demographic for which the school was established. Parents may apply directly to the school in relation to their child’s enrolment in the normal way.</p>
<p id="para_2061" class=""> Furthermore, similar to the process adopted in advance of the current academic year, my Department is engaging with patron bodies, including those in the Portmarnock school planning area, to identify particular capacity requirements for the forthcoming year(s) which may necessitate action. In respect of Malahide Portmarnock ETSS, my Department is liaising with the school and will be providing all necessary interim accommodation for September 2021 pending the delivery of the permanent project.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Covid-19 Pandemic

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (137)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_137">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Michael-Creed.D.1989-06-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Michael-Creed.D.1989-06-29/image/thumb" alt="Michael Creed"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Michael-Creed.D.1989-06-29/">Michael Creed</a>
</h4>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Michael Creed</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2062" class="">137. <strong>Deputy Michael Creed</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> when revised guidelines on the reopening of special schools and special classes will issue to school principals; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7522/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-137">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_373">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Josepha Madigan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">Minister of State at the Department of Education</a>
</h4>
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<p id="para_2063" class="">My Department is very conscious of the particular strain that school closures place on children with complex special educational needs and their families. </p>
<p id="para_2064" class=""> While most children reportedly adapted reasonably well to remote learning, there is a developing body of evidence which indicated that the absence of school and other supports had a disproportionately negative impact on the lives and wellbeing of children with the most complex special educational needs and their families. </p>
<p id="para_2065" class=""> It is for these reasons that my Department has prioritised the reopening of schools and classes for children with the most complex special educational needs.</p>
<p id="para_2066" class=""> Throughout January of this year, there has been engagements with education stakeholders on a near-daily basis. All of those meetings were focused on the safe reopening of schools. Recently, the engagements were particularly focused on the more specific question of a limited reopening of in-school provision for children with special educational needs. </p>
<p id="para_2067" class=""> Following intensive engagement and input from primary and special education partners, a framework has now been developed and agreed with all partners, including unions and management, in order to achieve a phased return to in-school provision for children with the most complex special educational needs. </p>
<p id="para_2068" class=""> Under the framework the following phased return to in-school provision has been agreed: </p>
<p id="para_2069" class=""> Phase 1: Special schools will reopen from Thursday 11th February 2021. In accordance with this agreement pupils will attend on a 50 per cent basis to allow for attendance of reduced numbers within the school setting. This will be reviewed in line with public health advice. </p>
<p id="para_2070" class=""> Phase 2: Primary Special Classes will reopen from Monday 22nd February 2021. </p>
<p id="para_2071" class=""> Guidance documents have issued to schools in advance of this reopening, including updated public health guidance and a framework document which outlines temporary time-bound staffing arrangements, the application of substitution arrangements, time-bound temporary arrangements for pupil attendance, information on school transport options and other matters. </p>
<p id="para_2072" class=""> I can also confirm that funding is in place to support implementation of all infection prevention control (IPC) measures required by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) including the provision of appropriate PPE for SNAs and Special Education Teaching staff. Any school that needs additional funding for PPE can get in touch with the Department.</p>
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</div>
</div>

State Examinations

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (138)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_138">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Joe-O'Brien.D.2019-11-29/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Joe-O'Brien.D.2019-11-29/image/thumb" alt="Joe O'Brien"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Joe-O'Brien.D.2019-11-29/">Joe O'Brien</a>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Joe O'Brien</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2073" class="">138. <strong>Deputy Joe O'Brien</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> when she will make an announcement on the plans for the leaving certificate examination in 2021. [7541/21]</p>
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</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-138">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_374">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<p id="para_2074" class="">My Department is acutely aware of the challenges faced by students, teachers and families as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic has brought significant challenges to the education system, and I am acutely aware of the impacts that this has had on those students preparing to sit their final examinations. It is recognised that a flexible and agile approach is necessary in light of the continuing fast-moving environment linked to COVID-19.</p>
<p id="para_2075" class=""> The planning work underway in respect of the State Examinations in 2021 is being assisted by an Advisory Group of key stakeholders. The advisory group has been convened to advise Government on all of the various issues arising in relation to the holding of the 2021 examinations, including public health considerations and appropriate contingency measures. The advisory group includes representatives of students, parents, teachers, school leadership and management bodies, the State Examinations Commission, the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, the Higher Education Authority and the Department of Education, including the National Educational Psychological Service.</p>
<p id="para_2076" class=""> The advisory group has met on a number of occasions as has a subgroup formed to consider in greater depth issues relating to planning towards the 2021 examinations, including those identified by the Irish Second-Level Students’ Union in their recently published report on the 2021 State Examinations and return to school. </p>
<p id="para_2077" class=""> Following the most recent meeting of the subgroup, on Friday 5 February, I announced that I was inviting these education stakeholders to participate in intensive, confidential bilateral discussions with department officials to progress work on two distinct processes for Leaving Certificate 2021: planning for examinations and scoping out a corresponding measure, different to examinations that can also be offered to students. Discussions on Junior Cycle examinations will continue in these engagements.</p>
<p id="para_2078" class=""> My Department has indicated to the education partners that any corresponding process would need to include the following features:</p>
<p id="para_2079" class=""> - The State Examinations Commission running both the examinations and the corresponding process</p>
<p id="para_2080" class=""> - Better provision for out-of-school learners in the corresponding process</p>
<p id="para_2081" class=""> - Some cognisance of performance in “additional component” elements of examinations (coursework, orals, practicals, etc.)</p>
<p id="para_2082" class=""> - Timely progression to higher and further education using either examinations or the outcome of any corresponding process</p>
<p id="para_2083" class=""> All partners are committed to acting in the interests and wellbeing of students, who are at the heart of this process.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

School Transport

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (139)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_139">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/image/thumb" alt="Catherine Murphy"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/">Catherine Murphy</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Catherine Murphy</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2084" class="">139. <strong>Deputy Catherine Murphy</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> if Bus Éireann made a profit from school transport in 2014 and entered this profit in the annual audited profit and loss account and balance sheet for that year; and if her attention has been drawn to information that this figure was entered in the exact same way as Bus Éireann entered the profit and-or loss from Expressway and its other commercial business lines. [7542/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-139">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_375">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<p id="para_2085" class="">School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department of Education. In the current school year over 113,100 children, including over 14,500 children with special educational needs, are transported on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country at a cost of over €224.7m in 2020. </p>
<p id="para_2086" class=""> The 1975 Summary of Accounting Arrangements form the basis of the payment to Bus Éireann for the operation of the School Transport Scheme. In this regard, my Department reimburses Bus Éireann for a range of costs incurred in the operation and administration of the scheme. Re-imbursement to Bus Éireann is on a cost recovery basis and the Department does not pay any profit to Bus Éireann relating to the School Transport Scheme.</p>
<p id="para_2087" class=""> Actual expenditure is finalised in the Bus Éireann annual statement of account which is independently audited by the Bus Éireann auditors in accordance with the 1975 <em>Summary of Accounting Arrangements.</em></p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Local Authority Funding

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (140)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_140">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/image/thumb" alt="Catherine Murphy"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Murphy.D.2005-03-11/">Catherine Murphy</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Catherine Murphy</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2088" class="">140. <strong>Deputy Catherine Murphy</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the non-grant payments made to local authorities for the variety of services provided by them by county; the amount awarded under each stream in each of the years 2018 to 2020 and to date in 2021, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7559/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-140">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_376">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/140/speech/376/" data-share-text="Local Authority Funding" title="Share speech #376 by Minister for Education"><i>Share</i></a></div>

<p id="para_2089" class="">In the period 2018 to date in 2021, my Department has made non-grant payments totalling €22,554,804 to local authorities in Ireland in payment for the provision of a range of goods and services. The table below provides a summary of payments to local authorities in the years in question.</p>
<p id="para_2090" class=""> It should be noted that the amounts for 2018 and 2019 include payments for services to the Department of Education and Skills, including services relating to functions that were transferred to Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science in 2020.</p>
<table>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2091" class="">Local Authority</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2092" class="">Section</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2093" class="">2018€</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2094" class="">2019€</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2095" class="">2020€</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2096" class="">2021€</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2097" class="">Clare County Council </p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2098" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2099" class="">62,723</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2100" class="">566</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2101" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2102" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2103" class="">Carlow County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2104" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2105" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2106" class="">12,500</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2107" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2108" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2109" class="">Cork City Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2110" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2111" class="">141,986</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2112" class="">12,500</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2113" class="">2,308</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2114" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2115" class="">Cork County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2116" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2117" class="">109,102</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2118" class="">14,259</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2119" class="">280,662</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2120" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2121" class="">Donegal County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2122" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2123" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2124" class="">131,484</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2125" class="">61,418</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2126" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2127" class="">Dublin City Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2128" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2129" class="">53,402</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2130" class="">175,171</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2131" class="">470,766</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2132" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2133" class=""/>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2134" class="">Corporate Services</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2135" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2136" class="">1,476</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2137" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2138" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2139" class="">Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2140" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2141" class="">13,877</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2142" class="">39,886</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2143" class="">30,649</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2144" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2145" class="">Fingal County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2146" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2147" class="">251,847</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2148" class="">153,493</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2149" class="">719,430</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2150" class="">1,836</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2151" class="">Galway City Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2152" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2153" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2154" class="">92,480</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2155" class="">4,120</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2156" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2157" class="">Galway County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2158" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2159" class="">69,876</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2160" class="">132,755</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2161" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2162" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2163" class="">Kerry County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2164" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2165" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2166" class="">12,500</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2167" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2168" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2169" class="">Kildare County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2170" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2171" class="">57,316</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2172" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2173" class="">614,900</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2174" class="">955</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2175" class="">Laois County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2176" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2177" class="">44,494</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2178" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2179" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2180" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2181" class="">Limerick City and County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2182" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2183" class="">1,969</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2184" class="">13,300</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2185" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2186" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2187" class="">Longford County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2188" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2189" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2190" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2191" class="">78,728</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2192" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2193" class="">Louth County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2194" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2195" class="">8,517,209</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2196" class="">399,685</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2197" class="">179,509</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2198" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2199" class="">Mayo County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2200" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2201" class="">14,296</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2202" class="">60,000</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2203" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2204" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2205" class=""/>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2206" class="">National Educational Psychological Service</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2207" class="">2,592</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2208" class="">2,592</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2209" class="">2,592</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2210" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2211" class="">Meath County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2212" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2213" class="">25,027</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2214" class="">90,100</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2215" class="">19,175</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2216" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2217" class="">Roscommon County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2218" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2219" class="">800</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2220" class="">170,000</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2221" class="">800</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2222" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2223" class="">Sligo County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2224" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2225" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2226" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2227" class="">88,200</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2228" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2229" class="">South Dublin County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2230" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2231" class="">37,579</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2232" class="">12,500</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2233" class="">6,305</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2234" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2235" class="">Waterford City and County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2236" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2237" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2238" class="">12,500</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2239" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2240" class="">0</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2241" class="">Westmeath County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2242" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2243" class="">4,924,180</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2244" class="">1,801,292</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2245" class="">2,272,134</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2246" class="">7,731</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2247" class="">Wicklow County Council</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2248" class="">Planning and Building</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2249" class="">25,000</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2250" class="">0</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2251" class="">4,509</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2252" class="">13,763</p>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td>
<p id="para_2253" class="">Totals</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2254" class=""/>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2255" class="">14,353,275</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2256" class="">3,341,039</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2257" class="">4,836,205</p>
</td>
<td>
<p id="para_2258" class="">24,285</p>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
</div>
</div>
</div>

Schools Amalgamation

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (141)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_141">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/John-Paul-Phelan.S.2002-09-12/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/John-Paul-Phelan.S.2002-09-12/image/thumb" alt="John Paul Phelan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/John-Paul-Phelan.S.2002-09-12/">John Paul Phelan</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/141/question/141/" data-share-text="Schools Amalgamation" title="Share question #141 by John Paul Phelan">
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">John Paul Phelan</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2259" class="">141. <strong>Deputy John Paul Phelan</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the work ongoing within her Department to support the amalgamation of two post-primary schools (details supplied); the timeline for the completion of the process; if funding is available for same; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7580/21]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-141">View answer</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-141">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech brief" id="spk_377">
<div class="c-avatar -debate -short">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/141/speech/377/" data-share-text="Schools Amalgamation" title="Share speech #377 by Minister for Education"><i>Share</i></a></div>

<p id="para_2260" class="">As the Deputy is aware, the recommendation to amalgamate the schools in question has been agreed. The Department is in contact with the Patron regarding progressing a project for the new amalgamated school.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

School Attendance

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (142)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_142">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Johnny Guirke"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/">Johnny Guirke</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/142/question/142/" data-share-text="School Attendance" title="Share question #142 by Johnny Guirke">
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</div>
<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Johnny Guirke</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2261" class="">142. <strong>Deputy Johnny Guirke</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the average attendance and login record for students in counties Meath and Westmeath during the period primary and secondary schools have been online by class and school year in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7582/21]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-142">View answer</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-142">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_378">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
<div class="content"><div class="social-share"><a href="#" class="share-trigger" data-share-url="https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2021-02-11/142/speech/378/" data-share-text="School Attendance" title="Share speech #378 by Minister for Education"><i>Share</i></a></div>

<p id="para_2262" class="">During school closures, schools are not required to record attendance. However, it is important that schools regularly engage with pupils in line with the published guidance. My Department has provided a suite of guidance materials, agreed with the education partners, to enable schools to facilitate the continuity of learning for all pupils in a Covid-19 context. These are available at www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/continuity-of-schooling/continuity-of-schooling.html. My Department has also provided specific updated guidance to advise on how schools and teachers can support continuity in the learning of vulnerable students and those at risk of educational disadvantage during school closures due to Covid-19. The guidance sets out approaches that schools can take and my Department has asked schools to ensure that there is a specific focus on ensuring that these pupils are supported.</p>
<p id="para_2263" class=""> Any records kept in relation to engagement during school closure periods are retained at school level and my Department does not collect data as requested by the Deputy.</p>
</div>
</div>
</div>

School Staff

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (143)</h3>
</div>

<div class="question" id="pq_143">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Johnny Guirke"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Johnny-Guirke.D.2020-02-08/">Johnny Guirke</a>
</h4>
</div>
<div class="text">
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Johnny Guirke</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2264" class="">143. <strong>Deputy Johnny Guirke</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> the way in which many teachers have been unavailable to participate due to sick days or Covid-19-related issues during the periods primary and secondary schools have been operating online since the start of the pandemic; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7583/21]</p>
<a class="view-answer" href="#pq-answers-143">View answer</a></div>
</div>
</div>
<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-143">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech brief" id="spk_379">
<div class="c-avatar -debate -short">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
</h4>
</div>
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<p id="para_2265" class="">The information sought by the Deputy is not readily available. Officials in my Department are collating the information and I will arrange to have it forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.</p>
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Irish Sign Language

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<h3>Questions (144)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_144">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Cathal-Crowe.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Cathal-Crowe.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Cathal Crowe"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Cathal-Crowe.D.2020-02-08/">Cathal Crowe</a>
</h4>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Cathal Crowe</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2266" class="">144. <strong>Deputy Cathal Crowe</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> if she will consider matters raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if it will be ensured that Irish Sign Language teachers will be deployed in locations where they are required for the implementation of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017. [7599/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-144">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_380">
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<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Josepha Madigan"/>
</a>
<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Josepha-Madigan.D.2016-10-03/">Minister of State at the Department of Education</a>
</h4>
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<p id="para_2267" class="">The Teaching Council is the independent regulatory body with statutory authority for the professional regulation of teachers in this State. </p>
<p id="para_2268" class=""> Registration with the Council is necessary in order to be recognized as a teacher for employment in a state funded teaching post. Registration ensures that standards of entry to the profession are maintained. Teachers may apply for registration in the primary, post-primary, further education and other sectors. </p>
<p id="para_2269" class=""> The registration of teachers is governed by Section 31 of the Teaching Council Acts 2001-2015 and the Council registers teachers under the Teaching Council Registration Regulations 2016. My Department is not directly involved in the registration of individual teachers. </p>
<p id="para_2270" class=""> Applicants wishing to register as a teacher in the Further Education sector must meet the requirements for registration under Route 3, as set out in the regulations, which are available on the Teaching Council’s website at www.teachingcouncil.ie/en/Registration/How-do-I-register-/.</p>
<p id="para_2271" class=""> I would advise members of the Council of Irish Sign Language Teachers (CISLT) to liaise directly with the Teaching Council regarding their registration.</p>
<p id="para_2272" class=""> Very significant levels of financial provision are made to ensure that all children with special educational needs, including children who are deaf/hard of hearing, can be provided with an education appropriate to their needs.</p>
<p id="para_2273" class=""> The total education spend on special education is about €2 Billion - almost a fifth - of the the annual educational and training budget. This represents an increase of over 60% in total expenditure since 2011, at which point €1.247 Billion per annum was provided.</p>
<p id="para_2274" class=""> Included in this provision is an extensive range of supports to assist students who are deaf or hard of hearing. In line with my Department's policy that children with special educational needs access appropriate education intervention in mainstream settings where possible, many deaf or hard of hearing pupils are integrated into mainstream classes at primary and post-primary level, while other children who are deaf or hard of hearing and have more complex needs may attend special schools or classes, which have lower pupil teacher ratios.</p>
<p id="para_2275" class=""> The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) Support Service includes Visiting Teachers, who are qualified teachers with particular skills and knowledge of the development and education of children with varying degrees of hearing loss and/or visual impairment. They offer longitudinal support to children, their families and schools from the time of referral through to the end of post-primary education.</p>
<p id="para_2276" class=""> Each visiting teacher (VT) is responsible for a particular region and is allocated a caseload of students. The VT supports children/young people, parents, guardians, teachers and other professionals involved with the child. </p>
<p id="para_2277" class=""> The frequency and nature of support takes into account a range of factors based on the individual’s needs. </p>
<p id="para_2278" class=""> The NCSE provide direct support to schools and individual teachers in as flexible a way as possible, offering telephone advice, a school visit from a member of the team, an in-service course for individual teachers, or whole-school training. Whole-school training will ensure that all teachers are equipped to cater for the pupils’ educational needs, as they progress through primary and post primary school.</p>
<p id="para_2279" class=""> Among the courses towards which funding is provided to schools are courses in Irish Sign Language, which are available throughout the country through a variety of providers.</p>
<p id="para_2280" class=""> Additional supports provided by my Department include funding to schools for assistive technology such as radio aids and Soundfield systems, special transport arrangements for pupils, and enhanced levels of capitation in special classes and special schools.</p>
<p id="para_2281" class=""> Funding is also provided by my Department for a weekly home tuition service whereby tutors visit the homes of deaf and hard of hearing pre-school children and school-going pupils to provide training in Irish Sign Language (ISL) for these children, their siblings, parents/guardians and grandparents. </p>
<p id="para_2282" class=""> Reasonable accommodations and supports are made available to support children with special educational needs, including students who are deaf/hard of hearing, to participate in state exams.</p>
<p id="para_2283" class=""> The NCSE published the Comprehensive Review of the SNA Scheme in May 2018. The report recommends that Irish Sign Language (ISL) qualified assistants should be put in place to support profoundly deaf students whose primary language is ISL and that this should be aligned to the requirements of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017..</p>
<p id="para_2284" class=""> In line with the recommendations of this review and the requirements of the Irish Sign Language Act 2017, a scheme will be developed to provide Irish Sign Language support for students attending recognised schools, whose primary language is Irish Sign Language. It will take some time to introduce and implement this ISL scheme. In the interim these posts are filled, on a case by case basis, through the NCSE to allocate an additional SNA post with appropriate ISL qualifications. They are employed on similar terms and conditions to SNAs. The purpose of these posts is to enable these students attend school and access the curriculum.</p>
<p id="para_2285" class=""> A new undergraduate programme, Bachelor of Education (Irish Sign Language), in Dublin City University (DCU), launched in 2019, enables deaf and hard of hearing people who use Irish Sign Language (ISL) to enter primary teaching.</p>
<p id="para_2286" class=""> Previously, there was no entry route to primary teacher education for someone who communicates through ISL and cannot meet the minimum entry requirement for Irish in Leaving Certificate. This B.Ed. allows ISL to be accepted as an alternative to Irish. It is an important step towards ensuring increased access and inclusion for all in the classroom.</p>
<p id="para_2287" class=""> It is envisaged that, when qualified, these students will teach in schools for the deaf or special classes in mainstream schools. These qualified teachers will have a high level of ability in ISL, in-depth knowledge of bilingual education and the ability to teach all of the curriculum subjects through ISL. It will further aid deaf children who use Irish Sign Language in primary school to fully access the curriculum by having teachers who are fluent ISL users. </p>
<p id="para_2288" class=""> This new Bachelor of Education (ISL) is approved by the Department of Education and accredited by the Teaching Council.</p>
<p id="para_2289" class=""> The duties of the Minister for Education in relation to the implementation of the ISL Act are set out in Section 5 of the Act and the Minister has no role in recognising representative bodies.</p>
<p id="para_2290" class=""> Under section 10(3) of the Act, the Minister for Justice shall ensure that persons or organisations that are representative of the interests of the members of the deaf community are consulted on the matters to be considered in a report prepared on the operation of the Act.</p>
<p id="para_2291" class=""> My Department has no role in granting recognition to representative bodies under the ACT.</p>
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Covid-19 Pandemic

<div class="sub-header">
<h3>Questions (145)</h3>
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<div class="question" id="pq_145">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Connolly.D.2016-10-03/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Catherine-Connolly.D.2016-10-03/image/thumb" alt="Catherine Connolly"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Catherine-Connolly.D.2016-10-03/">Catherine Connolly</a>
</h4>
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<div class="content"><h4 class="from">Catherine Connolly</h4><span class="question-start">Question:</span>
<p id="para_2292" class="">145. <strong>Deputy Catherine Connolly</strong> asked the <strong>Minister for Education</strong> further to Parliamentary Questions Nos. 136 and 290 of 20 January 2021, the analysis her Department has carried out into the efficacy of the current remote learning system for children in DEIS schools; her plans to make additional funding available to DEIS schools for the postage of learning packs to their students in view of ongoing uncertainty regarding the timeline for the reopening of schools and in view of the fact that schools will remain closed for longer than originally envisaged; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7602/21]</p>
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<div class="sub-header" id="pq-answers-145">
<h3>Written answers (Question to Education)</h3>
</div><div class="speech" id="spk_381">
<div class="c-avatar -debate">
<a class="c-avatar__img-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">
<img class="c-avatar__img" src="https://data.oireachtas.ie/ie/oireachtas/member/id/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/image/thumb" alt="Norma Foley"/>
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<h4 class="c-avatar__name">
<a class="c-avatar__name-link" href="/en/members/member/Norma-Foley.D.2020-02-08/">Minister for Education</a>
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<p id="para_2293" class="">Since last March, my Department has put in place a number of measures to support vulnerable learners and those at risk of educational disadvantage during possible partial or full school closures due to Covid19. It has also continued to engage with schools and the education partners during this time.</p>
<p id="para_2294" class=""> The Inspectorate is continuing to collect information about how well the system is adapting to the challenges at the current time and how schools are providing for remote teaching and learning. Since the beginning of January, inspectors have engaged with principals in 968 schools, including 272 DEIS schools and provided advice as necessary on how the provision for remote teaching and learning can be further developed. The findings of these telephone surveys of principals indicate that primary and post-primary schools have established and are implementing arrangements for remote provision in almost all cases. The Inspectorate has also carried out surveys of parents in a sample of primary and post-primary schools that included DEIS schools. Initial findings from these surveys are also positive and indicate that teachers are engaging regularly with their students and that students are receiving regular feedback on their work. The Inspectorate is also working with schools to develop approaches to enable inspectors and schools to evaluate the quality of education provision in a remote learning environment more comprehensively. Further information on the Inspectorate’s engagement with schools during this term is available in Circular Letter 0001/2021. </p>
<p id="para_2295" class=""> My Department has provided a suite of guidance materials, agreed with the education partners, to enable schools to facilitate the continuity of learning for all pupils/students in a Covid-19 context. These are available at www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/continuity-of-schooling/continuity-of-schooling.html. My Department has also provided specific updated guidance to advise on how schools and teachers can support continuity in the learning of vulnerable students and those at risk of educational disadvantage during school closures due to Covid-19. The guidance sets out approaches that schools can take and my Department has asked schools to ensuring that there is a specific focus on ensure that these pupils are supported. Many schools have already introduced a range of strategies and measures to ensure that the needs of these pupils are catered for, including pupils who have limited access to technology or whose parents are not in a position to support their learning. </p>
<p id="para_2296" class=""> My Department’s ongoing engagement with public health and the education partners is focussing on the safe return of all pupils and students to school at the earliest opportunity while supporting the provision of remote learning at this time.</p>
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