I propose to take Questions Nos. 576 and 620 together.
My Department does not have details of the full-time student admissions outside the CAO system for 1998-99 in respect of disadvantaged students or details of the total pool of non-standard entry disadvantaged students in 1998-99.
There are a number of initiatives currently in place in both the university and institute of technology sectors specifically geared towards disadvantaged students. These initiatives involve links with second level schools and local communities to provide supervised study facilities, extra tuition for pupils, information and advice for parents and pupils, including seminars, mentoring and support teaching in key subject areas. These programmes either assist students to meet the points requirement for courses for entry through the standard CAO.
In schools where the pastoral care system is well developed the form teacher usually has a period at the beginning of each day to discuss general and specific issues. The civic, social and political education programme, as it is concept-based by nature, enables the discussion of a range of general issues affecting pupils. Further opportunities also exist in the transition year programme.