Written Answers. - School Staffing.

Billy Timmins

Ceist:

82 Mr. Timmins asked the Minister for Education and Science if a resource teacher will be appointed for Stratford national school, County Wicklow, in view of the fact there are pupils in this school in need of this service who have been assessed privately at parents expense. [8630/99]

Charles Flanagan

Ceist:

83 Mr. Flanagan asked the Minister for Education and Science the reason for the delay in the appointment of a resource teacher at St. Fiacc's national school, Killeshin Road, Graiguecullen, Carlow, in view of the fact there are 370 pupils in the school, many of whom have been assessed as being appropriate for the services of a resource teacher; if his attention has been drawn to the fact unemployment in the school catchment area is considerably higher than the national average; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8631/99]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 82 and 83 together.

I am pleased to inform the Deputies that I recently announced a major new initiative in the special education area under which all children assessed as having special needs arising from a disability will be entitled to an automatic response to those needs. The level and nature of the response in each case will depend on the assessed needs of the child or group of children involved. The response may take the form of a full or part-time remedial teacher, resource teacher or child care support depending on the number of children involved and the nature of their needs. Children with learning disabilities attending schools in question will benefit from these initiatives.

My Department has written to the board of management of Stratford national school, Stratford, County Wicklow seeking details of the pupils who have special educational needs. The school's application for a resource teacher will be considered once these details have been received.

The House will appreciate that each appli cation for a resource teacher requires careful consideration to ensure that the special educational needs of pupils receive the appropriate level of support. My Department's inspectorate is considering the information supplied by St. Fiacc's national schools, Killeshin Road, Graiguecullen, Carlow, in support of its application for a resource teacher. I expect a decision will be made on this application very shortly.

Joe Higgins

Ceist:

84 Mr. Higgins (Dublin West) asked the Minister for Education and Science if a resource counsellor or a second remedial teacher will be assigned to St. Philip's senior national school, Mountview, Clonsilla, Dublin 15. [8632/99]

I am aware that a case has been made to my Department for the appointment of a support teacher, formerly known as a teacher counsellor, to the school in question. The operation of this service is being monitored by my Department's inspectorate on an ongoing basis. The question of any future expansion of the service will be considered in the light of experience with the existing service and having regard to available resources.

The school in question already has a remedial teacher service. My immediate priority in the remedial area is to extend the service to all first and second level schools which currently have no such service.

I can assure the Deputy that the needs of the school to which he refers will be fully considered in the event of any further expansion of the support teacher or remedial teacher service being undertaken.