National Development Plan

Ceisteanna (227)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

227. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeframe for investment in listed projects (details supplied) at Maynooth university following the commitment in the National Development Plan 2019 to 2027 to invest in the university; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9390/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2027 references the campus development plans of the seven universities, including Maynooth University.  These plans total over €3 billion and will be funded with a mix of own resources, borrowing, philanthropy and Exchequer grants. 

The NDP also signals Exchequer investments of €2.2 billion in higher education infrastructure over the coming decade. This welcome increase in funding will present major new opportunities for the higher education sector. However, it should be noted that the signficant ramp up in investment will take place over time and particularly in the second half of the NDP period.  In that context, a capital investment prioritisation framework, together with updated appraisal approaches, will be developed over the coming months to inform funding decisions and to ensure that maxiumum impact and value for money can be achieved from Exchequer investments. 

Officials from my Department have met with representatives from Maynooth University in relation to their campus development plans.  A Cost-Benefit Analysis for the next phase of campus development is currently being prepared by the University and will be submitted to the Higher Education Authority (HEA) and the Department.

State Examinations Appeals

Ceisteanna (228)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

228. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will review the rechecking and appeal system for leaving certificate examination results to ensure that students are not prevented from securing a place in a preferred course should the recheck or appeal increase their points; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a person (details supplied) and others have missed out on availing of scholarships due to the fact the recheck or appeal was not carried out in a timely manner to meet the criteria for the award of these scholarships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9404/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The State Examinations Commission has statutory responsibility for operational matters relating to the certificate examinations. In view of this I have forwarded your query to the Commission for direct reply to you.

National Development Plan

Ceisteanna (229)

James Browne

Ceist:

229. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if each capital application to his Department for schools in County Wexford will be granted; the type and extent of each application; the status of each; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9409/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department has extensive information on the capital building programme including school applications and school projects being planned and delivered on its website www.education.ie.

This range of information is continuously kept under review to enhance the information available on the website particularly in the context of the increased education capital investment announced under the National Development Plan. Details of major school projects for County Wexford contained in my Department's construction programme is attached for the Deputy's information.

Capital Programme –Major Projects.

COUNTY

ROLL NO

SCHOOL NAME

SCHOOL TYPE

STATUS

Wexford

63660A

Loreto Secondary School, Wexford

Post Primary

Completion Stage

Wexford

18280I

St Joseph’s Primary School, Gorey

Primary

Completion Stage

Wexford

01840C

St Canice’s Convent, Rosbercon, New Ross

Primary

Site acquisition process

Wexford

71610E

Bridgetown College

Post Primary

Project Brief Stage

Wexford

20333P

Wexford Educate Together N.S.

Primary

Site acquisition process

Wexford

68080H

Meánscoil Gharman, Enniscorthy

Post Primary

Site acquisition process

Wexford

71620H

Vocational College, Bunclody

Post Primary

Project Brief stage

Wexford

17217T

Scoil na mBraithre, Wexford Town

Primary

Under Construction

Wexford

63640R

C.B.S Secondary School, Wexford Town

Post Primary

Under Construction

Wexford

08221J

St. Senans N.S.

Enniscorthy

Primary

Stage 2 (b)

Wexford

19240B

St. Patrick’s Special School, Enniscorthy

Primary

Tender Stage

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (230)

James Browne

Ceist:

230. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department will install temporary accommodation to cater for children who have no place in a district secondary school in County Wexford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9415/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is monitoring the school accommodation position in the Wexford town area.  In that regard, my Department considers that the additional school accommodation planned for the Wexford town area should be adequate to cater for the projected increase in enrolments in that area. My Department will however, continue to monitor the position, taking into account the latest pupil enrolment data, the impact of planned expansion of school capacity and developments in the school planning areas adjacent to Wexford town.

School Patronage

Ceisteanna (231, 232)

James Browne

Ceist:

231. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on whether the decision to cap enrolment figures at a school (details supplied) contradicts a commitment in the programme for Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9418/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James Browne

Ceist:

232. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the decision to cap enrolment figures at a school (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9419/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to answer Questions Nos. 231 and 232 together.

The 2012 Report of the Advisory Group to the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in the Primary Sector recommended that demand for patronage diversity should be met in areas of stable population by divesting patronage of existing schools where there is evidence of parental demand for change.

In this context, in 2012/13, my Department undertook surveys of parental preferences in 43 areas of stable population to establish the level of demand for a wider choice in the patronage of primary schools. These areas were all stable in terms of population growth, so no new school places were required. However sufficient demand for more choice emerged in 28 areas, including in New Ross.

In the majority of the 28 areas surveyed where sufficient demand emerged, including New Ross, the level of parental demand for a wider choice indicated a size of a four classroom school being required to accommodate such a level of demand.

Under the patronage divesting process, a school could be opened where a school building became, or was due to become, available as a result of an amalgamation/closure of an existing school. In some areas, in responding to demand for diversity where existing patrons were unable make school properties available, my Department also included an examination of properties held in public ownership.

In order to facilitate the opening of these schools, their initial establishment, as with most new schools, has been in temporary start-up accommodation, pending a permanent school building being made available. All schools, irrespective of their location, have to operate within their available accommodation and manage annual pupil intake accordingly.

The initial establishment of these schools as four-classroom schools and the need to be cognisant of managing the available accommodation has been reflected in my Department’s engagement with the patron body of the schools, Educate Together. Indeed, a case has been submitted by Educate Together to my Department to further expand New Ross ETNS and four other schools opened under the patronage divesting process and this is currently under consideration.

My Department is currently carrying out nationwide demographic exercises at primary and post-primary level to identify areas of demographic growth and determine where additional school accommodation is needed in order to plan for school provision nationwide and this work is almost complete. In this context, the outcome of the nationwide demographic exercises will input into consideration of the case submitted by Educate Together.

My Department has announced a new Patronage Reconfiguration process, which will accelerate the delivery of multi-denominational and non-denominational schools, to reach 400 multi-denominational and non-denominational schools by 2030. Unlike the previous process, this plan will focus on live transfers, so that a school which transfers under this process would not be reliant on temporary accommodation.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (233)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

233. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the conveyancing process in relation to the acquisition of a site for schools (details supplied) has been completed; if the site is now in the ownership of his Department; when a design team will be appointed to move forward both projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9443/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm that my Department is in the process of acquiring a site to accommodate the schools to which the Deputy refers.   The school patrons have been informed of the proposed location of the schools.

Officials in my Department are liaising with all relevant parties in order to progress the site acquisition. When the site acquisition process has been progressed further, my Department will be in a position to progress the project into architectural planning. At this point I am not in a position to state when a design team will be appointed but I can assure the Deputy that every effort is being made to expedite the site acquisition process.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (234)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

234. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills when tenders will be invited for a school (details supplied); the closing date for receipt of tenders if they have been invited; when construction of the new school is likely to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9444/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school building project to which the Deputy refers is currently at advanced architectural planning stage. It is anticipated that tenders for the school will be invited in Q1 2018 with construction anticipated to commence in Q3 2018.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (235)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

235. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has received a revised stage 2(b) report for a school (details supplied); when tenders will be invited for the project; when construction of the new school is likely to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9445/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project referred to by the Deputy is for a new 24 classroom school including a Special Needs Unit, with a floor area of approx. 4,748m2.

The project is currently at Stage 2B of Architectural Planning - Detailed Design Stage, which includes applications for all statutory consents, including Planning Permission, Disability Access Certificate and Fire Safety Certificate and also the preparation of tender documentation. Planning Permission for this project was received in August 2017.

The Stage 2B report has recently been received and reviewed by my Department. A number of issues were identified as needing clarification by the Design Team prior to approval of the Stage 2B submission.

Once a revised Stage 2B submission which addresses these issues has been received and reviewed, my Department will then revert to the school with regard to a timeframe for progression to tender.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (236)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

236. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if tenders have been invited for a school (details supplied); the closing date for receipt of tenders; when construction of the new school is likely to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9446/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

The Stage 2b submission has been reviewed by my Department and comments have issued to the school and its Design Team. My Department requested confirmations from the Design Team that it carries out one final review of all of its tender documentation to ensure compliance with DoES requirements. The Design Team has been requested to submit written confirmation from each Design Team member including the PSDP that they have completed this review and are satisfied that the Tender Documents are complete, correct and in compliance with DoES and Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) tender documentation requirements.

These confirmations have recently been received and my Department will revert to the school in regarding a timeframe for progression of this project.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (237)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

237. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if tenders have been invited for a school (details supplied); the closing date for receipt of tenders; when construction of the new school is likely to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9447/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project for the school to which the Deputy refers is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

The Stage 2b submission has been reviewed by my Department and comments have recently issued to the school and its Design Team. My Department requested confirmations from the Design Team that it carries out one final review of all of its tender documentation to ensure compliance with DoES requirements. The Design Team has been requested to submit written confirmation from each Design Team member including the PSDP that they have completed this review and are satisfied that the Tender Documents are complete, correct and in compliance with DoES and Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) tender documentation requirements.

Once these confirmations have been received my Department will revert to the Board of Management with regard to the further progression of the project.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (238)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

238. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if tenders have been invited for a school (details supplied); the closing date for receipt of tenders; when construction of the new school is likely to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9448/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project for Naas Community College has been devolved for delivery to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB).

The up-to-date position is that the Department has received a Stage 2B submission for the project from KWETB and its Design Team.  This is the detailed design documentation on which the tender and construction phases will be based.  The submission is currently being examined by the Department’s Professional and Technical staff. As soon as this examination is completed, and assuming it is in order, the Department will be in contact with KWETB in relation to progressing the project to tender and construction.

School Funding

Ceisteanna (239)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

239. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if additional funding will made available for a school (details supplied); if not, the reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9480/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department recently received correspondence from the school referred to by the Deputy. 

I recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools having regard to the reductions that were necessary over recent years.

Budget 2018 marked the second year of major reinvestment in the education sector, as we continue to implement the Action Plan for Education, which has the central aim to make the Irish Education and Training service the best in Europe within a decade.  In 2018, the budget for the Department of Education increased by €554 million to over €10 billion.

The process is underway for restoring grant funding that is used by schools to fund the salaries of ancillary staff.  The ancillary grant was increased by €6 in 2016, €5 in 2017 and €5 in 2018, in order to enable primary schools implement the arbitration salary increase for grant funded school secretaries and caretakers and to also implement the restoration of salary for cleaners arising from the unwinding of FEMPI legislation.