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Thursday, 4 Nov 2021

Written Answers Nos. 286-300

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (286)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

286. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Defence the details of his Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53858/21]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

The high level goal of Defence is to ‘provide for the military defence of the State, contribute to national and international peace and security and fulfil all other roles assigned by Government’. The Defence budget allocation provides mainly for pay and allowances, operational costs and capital investment across the Defence Forces and pensions costs for ex-members of the Defence Forces. There are no cross-Border initiatives provided for within this allocation.

Defence Forces

Questions (287)

Willie O'Dea

Question:

287. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Defence the reason for the delay in making a decision regarding an application for a position in the Defence Forces by a person (details supplied); when a decision will be made in this case; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53950/21]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

Applicants to the Defence Forces are required to successfully pass all stages of the induction process. While the period of time between these stages has been impacted by required Covid 19 public health guidelines, the induction process remains prioritised and applicants are kept updated on the status of their application.

I am advised by the military authorities that the individual outlined in the details supplied to the question has been informed that his application is being administered and that further contact will be made in due course.

School Enrolments

Questions (288)

Richard Bruton

Question:

288. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the aggregate capacity of secondary schools in the Drumcondra school planning catchment area; and the extent to which it exceeds the current enrolment. [53760/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that there are 9 post primary schools in the Drumcondra/Marino school catchment area.

The Department records data as reported by schools on an annual basis in respect of their available accommodation and enrolment. The Department also holds records in respect of completed or planned Department-funded school building projects and historic enrolment data. However, it is a matter for individual Boards of Management to determine the capacity of their school building and appropriate enrolment levels.

It is also important to note that in city areas in particular, spare capacity or enrolment pressures in the wider region can impact on schools in a central school planning area.

Where capacity issues arise it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

- Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area

- School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area

- Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils

- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

My Department has major building works planned for the following schools:

- Scoil Chaitriona Glasnevin – RN60700R - Major project to provide an LTPE of 500 pupils – project brief stage.

- Rosmini Community School – RN91344V – Major Project to provide an LTPE of 350 pupils school extension and refurbishment – Project at Stage 3.

There is also additional school accommodation applications for the following school:

Dominican College – The Department has recently sanctioned a devolved project for an extension to expand the school to cater for 800 pupils. This project is commencing the architectural planning process.

Furthermore, additional post primary provision to meet the need in Drumcondra_Marino_D1 was announced in 2018 and the timing of this provision is being kept under review in the context of emerging demand in the area.

My Department additionally engages with patron bodies to identify particular capacity requirements for a particular year(s) which may necessitate action in the form of additional interim accommodation, permanent extension or potential new school. Requirements for school places in all 314 school planning areas, including in Drumcondra_Marino_D1, will continue to be kept under review.

Schools Building Projects

Questions (289)

Richard Bruton

Question:

289. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the planned opening date for the proposed new secondary school in the Drumcondra school planning area which did not go ahead on the date originally announced. [53761/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The planned establishment of a new post-primary school in 2022 to serve the Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area was announced in 2018 as a result of a countrywide demographic exercise. A further exercise has since been conducted on the necessity for the establishment of a number of planned new schools, including the school to serve this school planning area, taking into account a number of factors, including the pace of delivery of the expected additional residential development in the school planning areas, associated enrolments and the capacity in existing schools in the area.

My Department is satisfied that demand in the Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area can be accommodated at present by the existing and growing schools in this area. As a result, the establishment of the planned new school is deferred.

The pace of delivery of additional residential development in this school planning area, along with updated enrolment data and demographic data will be kept under review and will inform the timing of additional school requirements.

Departmental Data

Questions (290)

Richard Bruton

Question:

290. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the number of secondary schools in the Drumcondra school catchment area which are mixed and non-denominational; and the capacity of each school. [53762/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that there are 9 post primary schools in the Drumcondra/Marino school catchment area.

4 of these are mixed schools, 3 whose ethos is Inter Denominational and 1 whose ethos is Catholic 3 are boys schools whose ethos is Catholic 2 are girls schools whose ethos is Catholic

The Department records data as reported by schools on an annual basis in respect of their available accommodation and enrolment. The Department also holds records in respect of completed or planned Department-funded school building projects and historic enrolment data. However, it is a matter for individual Boards of Management to determine the capacity of their school building and appropriate enrolment levels.

It is also important to note that in city areas in particular, spare capacity or enrolment pressures in the wider region can impact on schools in a central school planning area.

Where capacity issues arise it may not be as a result of lack of accommodation but may be driven by the following factors:

- Duplication of applications – pupils have applied for a place to a number of schools in the area

- School of choice – pupils can’t get a place in their preferred school while there are places in other schools in the town/area

- Some towns/areas have single sex schools and while places are available in the school they are not available to all pupils

- External draw – pupils coming from outside the local area

My Department would engage with patron bodies to identify particular capacity requirements for a particular year(s) which may necessitate action in the form of additional interim accommodation, permanent extension or potential new school.

School Enrolments

Questions (291)

Richard Bruton

Question:

291. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the existing pattern of children entering or leaving the Drumcondra school catchment area for secondary schooling. [53763/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

For the academic year 2019-20, there were 559 sixth class primary pupils in the school planning area of Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1. Of these, 262 left the school planning area to attend post-primary in neighbouring school planning areas for the 2020-21 academic year. The remaining 297 pupils stayed in the school planning area to attend first year of post-primary. An additional 350 pupils attended first-year post-primary in Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 coming from a different school planning area. This results in a total of 647 pupils in Drumcondra and Marino for first-year 2020-21.

SPA

Cohort.6th

Stayed

Primary.OUT

Post.IN

Cohort.1st yr

Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin1

559

297

262

350

647

School Enrolments

Questions (292)

Richard Bruton

Question:

292. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education if the CSO has provided her Department with a projection of population for the Drumcondra school catchment area over the next five years. [53764/21]

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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. My Department uses a Geographical Information System (GIS) to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. The GIS uses data from a range of sources, including the Central Statistics Office and also, Ordnance Survey Ireland, the Department of Social Protection (Child Benefit information) and my Department's own databases (school enrolment data). Major new residential developments in a school planning area can also have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each local authority to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area.

With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises annually, at primary and post primary level to determine where additional school accommodation is needed. 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.

My Department is satisfied that current demand in the Drumcondra_Marino_Dublin 1 school planning area can be accommodated at present by the existing and growing schools in this area. The pace of delivery of additional residential development in this school planning area, along with updated enrolment data and demographic data will be kept under review and this will inform the timing of school requirements.

Home Schooling

Question No. 294 answered with Question No. 293.

Questions (293, 294, 296)

Colm Burke

Question:

293. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Education the reason home tuition applications are only accessible from mid-summer each year when educational welfare officers, CAMHS and schools management are on holidays given that this greatly hinders submission of comprehensive applications in time for the beginning of the school year; if this can be brought back earlier in the year to spring; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53784/21]

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Colm Burke

Question:

294. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Education the actions her Department will take to reduce and ultimately eliminate the backlog in processing applications for home tuition which results in students missing part of the school year and tutors being unable to work; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53785/21]

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Colm Burke

Question:

296. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Education if her Department will institute a process to replace time lost through delays in processing home tuition applications; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53787/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 293, 294 and 296 together.

My Department's Home Tuition Grant Schemes provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of specific reasons, are unable to attend school. By its nature, it is intended to be a short term intervention.

The Home tuition scheme for 2020/21 at primary ended on the 25th of June 2021 and the Post Primary scheme ended on the 28th of May 2021.

The new application forms and related Circular for the 2021/22 scheme were published on the 7th July 2021 which was published earlier than 2020/21 circular the previous year, which was the 27th July 2020.

The operation of the scheme will continue to be reviewed during the current academic year with a view to improving processes.

The Home Tuition Application form outlines that it may take the Department up to 15 working days to process home tuition applications.

The vast majority of applications made have been processed. The Department is prioritising the processing of a small number Home Tuition applications with a view to processing completed applications within a shorter timeframe.

The operation of the scheme will continue to be reviewed during the current academic year with a view to improving processes.

As per the circular 0038/2021, Parents should not commence Home Tuition until they have received a grant approval letter from the Department confirming that they meet the terms and conditions of the scheme and the date of commencement of grant aid.

Parents/legal guardians are advised that the home tuition grant will not be back-dated. There are no plans to amend this at this time.

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.

Question No. 294 answered with Question No. 293.

Home Schooling

Question No. 296 answered with Question No. 293.

Questions (295)

Colm Burke

Question:

295. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Education if her Department will designate home tutors as employees of her Department given that there is a long-term educational relationship between tutors and their students in a large number of cases; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53786/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Departments Home Tuition Grant Schemes provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of specific reasons, are unable to attend school. By its nature, it is intended to be a short term intervention.

Under the Home Tuition Schemes, 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 of Education.

In accordance with instructions from the Revenue Commissioners, payments under the Home Tuition Grant Scheme are subject to statutory deductions at source. In order to facilitate parents, my Department acts solely as payroll agents on behalf of the parents/guardian.

The Department of Social Protection has determined that Home Tutors are engaged under a contract for service and are therefore self-employed and subject to PRSI Class S. Any further queries in relation to PRSI Class should be directed to the Department of Social Protection.

Question No. 296 answered with Question No. 293.

Home Schooling

Questions (297)

Colm Burke

Question:

297. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Education the reason home tuition has not yet been sanctioned for a pupil (details supplied); when it is likely to be sanctioned given that this tutorage is essential for the pupil; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53788/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Departments Home Tuition Grant Schemes provide funding towards the provision of a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of specific reasons, are unable to attend school. By its nature, it is intended to be a short term intervention.

The application forms and related Circular for the 2021/22 scheme were published on the 7th July 2021.

The Home Tuition Application form outlines that it may take the Department up to 15 working days to process home tuition applications.

A completed application for this child was received on the 04th of October 2021 and sanction issued to parent on the 28th of October 2021 via email.

The Home Tuition Application form outlines that it may take the Department up to 15 working days to process home tuition applications.

As per the circular 0038/2021, Parents should not commence Home Tuition until they have received a grant approval letter from the Department confirming that they meet the terms and conditions of the scheme and the date of commencement of grant aid.

Parents/legal guardians are advised that the home tuition grant will not be back-dated.

School Curriculum

Questions (298)

Richard Bruton

Question:

298. Deputy Richard Bruton asked the Minister for Education the guidance provided by her Department to schools outlining the way they should meet their obligation to outline their provision for children who wish to opt out of religious instruction; if it is set out explicitly in admission policy statements; and the other means that are available to a prospective parent to consider the policy in place. [53798/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Under Article 44 of the Constitution and in accordance with Section 30 of the Education Act, 1998, parents have a right to have their children opt out of religious instruction classes if they so wish. It is expected that this right will be upheld by schools on foot of a parental request.

Under the provisions of the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018, where schools provide religious instruction, they must clearly set out in their admission policies the school’s arrangements for students, where the parent or in the case of a student who has reached the age of 18 years, the student, has requested that the student attend the school without attending religious instruction in the school.

The manner in which any school ensures that the right to opt out of religion classes is upheld is a matter for the school concerned. Each individual school must determine the particular arrangements which are most appropriate in its individual circumstances having regard to local issues such as available space, supervision requirements and how the school concerned organises classes etc.

The right of parents to have their child opt out of religion classes applies in all schools regardless of the denomination or ethos of the school concerned.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (299)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

299. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education the details of the cross-Border Project Ireland 2040 infrastructure projects and the funding allocated for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53841/21]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The Governments shared Island Fund as part of the reviewed National Development Plan includes €500 million in capital funding between 2021 and 2025 for North/South investments. Among its investment priorities is a more all-island Education connections including through continued investment in the Middletown centre, and seeking other opportunities to share experience and resources in early years, special needs, and tackling educational underachievement.

PEACE PLUS (2021-2027) will also make available an indicative €45 million for the Shared Learning Together Programme in border counties and Northern Ireland , and across the island, including for shared education, collaborative opportunities for disadvantaged education settings, use of technology in the classroom, and post-primary school and youth-based organisation partnerships on a cross-border and cross-community basis.

My Department will be looking to maximise the opportunities that this funding provides in relation to appropriate projects during this period.

In tandem, my Department has a significant pipeline of projection which include projects in border counties. The current status of projects being delivered is listed on a county by county basis on the www.Gov.ie website and is updated on a monthly basis to reflect progress through the various stages.

Cross-Border Co-operation

Questions (300)

Mary Lou McDonald

Question:

300. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Education the details of her Department’s current cross-Border initiatives, goods and or services committed to and the funding allocated to each for 2021, 2022 and 2023, in tabular form. [53859/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Education)

The following are the current Cross-Border initiatives that the Department of Education has funded in 2021. It is likely that allocations for these Cross-Border initiatives will remain at these levels for 2022 and 2023.

2021 Funding

Peace IV Programme (Ireland/ Northern Ireland) Shared Education

€650,403.68

Maths Week Ireland

€100,000

Cinemagic Film & Television Festival

€80,000

Pushkin Prizes Schools Programme

€27,000

April 2021/March 2022

£Stg

Middletown Centre for Autism

- Resource

£1,255,000

- Capital *

£97,000

* The capital allocation for subsequent years is part of a future deliberation process.

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