Caiteachas Ranna

Ceisteanna (91)

Pearse Doherty

Ceist:

91. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Pearse Doherty den Aire Caiteachais Phoiblí agus Athchóirithe maidir le Ceist Dála Uimhir 100 ar an 9ú Bealtaine 2018, cad chuige gur i mBéarla a freagraíodh an cheist seo. [21502/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Níorbh fhéidir an PQ a fhreagairt i nGaeilge sa tréimhse ama toisc srianta ama. Tá an freagra 9ú Bealtaine aistrithe go Gaeilge anois thíos:

“Ba é ceann de na cuspóirí ar bhain le Ceadúnas don Chrannchur Naisiúnta do thréimshe 20 bliain a dhíol ná fáltais láithreach a ghiniúint don Stát. Úsáideadh an €405, fáltas ó dhíol an cheadúnais, le tionscadail chaiteachais a mhaoiniú agus laghdaíodh an gá le méaduithe cánacha ag an am sin dá bharr.

"Is d’fhreagracht na Ranna áirithe é an leithroinnt maoiniúcháin ó na fo-cheannteidil atá maoinithe ag an gCrannchur Náisiúnta sin a leagan amach. Tá na Ranna agus Gníomhaireachtaí áirithe leagtha amach i bhfoscríbhinn 1 sa Mheastacháin Athbhreithnithe go bliaintiúil.

"Foilsíonn An Roinn Cultúir, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta eolas atá bainteach leis an gcaiteachas arna pháirt-chistiú ag an gCrannchur Náisiúnta ar a suíomh gréasáin go bliaintiúil. Nasc thíos. Déantar cur síos ar na fo-cheannteidil A9, B3 agus C4 mar ‘pháirt-chistiú ag an gCrannchur Náisiúnta’ sa Mheastacháin Athbhreithnithe. Baineann an t-eolas faoi C4 go díreach leis an nGaeilge.www.chg.gov.ie/about/finance-evaluation/national-lottery-funding/.

"Tá an nasc don Tuarascáil 2014 thíos:www.chg.gov.ie/app/uploads/2015/07/National_Lottery_Funding_2014.pdf ”.

Garda Station Refurbishment

Ceisteanna (92)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

92. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the Garda stations in the Limerick Garda division that received refurbishment and maintenance in excess of €5,000 in 2017 and to date in 2018 (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21518/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I can confirm that the Office of Public Works (OPW) has carried out works on at least seven Garda Stations in the Limerick Garda Division in 2017 and 2018.

It was not possible to compile all the details requested in the timeframe for this response. The information requested will be furnished directly to the Deputy as soon as possible.

The deferred reply under Standing Order 42A was forwarded to the Deputy.

Flood Relief Schemes Status

Ceisteanna (93)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

93. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress to date in respect of a scheme (details supplied); when work is expected to commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21538/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Lower Morell River Flood Management Scheme is being progressed by Kildare County Council (KCC) as the Contracting Authority with funding provided by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The proposed Scheme along with an Environmental Impact Assessment Report was submitted to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) by the Council on 15 September, 2017. Approval for the scheme was received from ABP on 27 April 2018.

The Scheme comprises:

- construction or restoration of over 9,000 metres of sloped embankments;

- construction of up to 480 metres of flood walls to direct the flood water away from high risk areas;

- realignment of two streams; and up to 11 culvert alterations/upgrades.

Construction is expected to commence in August / September 2018 and will be undertaken over three years by OPW direct labour. Initial works will commence on site at the downstream end of the project. These works will include up to two kilometres of earthen embankments and the construction of reinforced concrete structures.

Further information and a detailed description of the proposed scheme can be accessed on the Lower Morell Flood Management Scheme website www.morellfms.ie.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (94)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

94. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grounds on which a child with Down syndrome can be refused the July provision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21498/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The July Education Programme (or July Provision Grant Scheme) provides funding towards an extended school year for children with a severe or profound general learning disability and/or children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) enrolled in recognised schools.

The eligibility criteria and the terms and conditions for the July Provision Grant Scheme 2018 are set out in the Information Note on the scheme which was published with the application forms and is available on the Department’s website at www.education.ie.

The National Council for Special Education’s Policy Advice on Educational Provision for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders was published in July 2016.

In developing this policy advice, the NCSE reviewed my Department's July Provision Grant Scheme. The NCSE consulted widely with parents, professionals and other stakeholders and interested parties while also conducting research.

The Policy advice, which is available on the NCSE’s website, recommends that relevant stakeholders should discuss the development of a national day activity scheme that provides a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs for one month of the summer holidays.

My Department has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the National Council for Special Education, the National Educational Psychological Service, the Inspectorate and external representatives to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered. The work of the Implementation Group is ongoing.

My Department officials are engaging with officials in the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Health and other relevant stakeholders in regard to implementing the recommendations, including those in relation to July Provision.

While that work is underway, there are no plans to extend the existing July Provision Grant Scheme to all children with Special Education Needs and indeed this was not a recommendation of the NCSE in their policy advice.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (95)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

95. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an appeal for a SNA in the case of a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21501/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs) for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on the Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed. My Department’s policy is to ensure that every child who is assessed as needing SNA support will receive access to such support.

In considering applications for SNA supports for individual pupils, the SENOs take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources. SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

The deadline for applying for SNA support for the 2018/19 school year was extended from 28 February to 7 March 2018 due to the effects of adverse weather. The NCSE continue to accept applications for SNA Support after this date and these will be processed according to the date of receipt. The NCSE aim to respond to valid applications received later this month.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support on the grounds that Department policy was not met in accordance with Circular 0030/2014.

Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA supports to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

As the question to which the Deputy refers relates to a specific school, the matter will be referred to the NCSE for direct reply.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (96)

Martin Ferris

Ceist:

96. Deputy Martin Ferris asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied) for an extra classroom due to overcrowding. [21509/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise that my Department has approved the provision of additional temporary accommodation, at the school referred to by the Deputy, to address the school's immediate accommodation requirements. The school has been advised of my Department's decision.

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (97)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

97. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to restore the capitation grant to €200 per pupil for primary schools; the timeline in relation to same; his further plans to increase the capitation grant to match the costs of running a primary school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21519/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The level of funding provided to schools and the drivers of costs at school level are kept under review by my Department.

Initiatives in order to assist with the reduction of costs at school level and management of finances are in place such as the services provided by the Schools Procurement Unit and the Financial Services Support Unit.

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

Restoring capitation funding as resources permit is one of the actions included in the Action Plan for Education.

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. Through budget 2017 and Budget 2018, we are now investing €1 billion more in education.

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 to 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.

The Deputy may wish to note that schools have the flexibility to use capitation funding provided for general running costs and ancillary funding provided for caretaking and secretarial services as a common grant which is outlined in Circular 40/2009.

Minor Works Scheme

Ceisteanna (98)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

98. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to establish the minor works grant on a permanent basis in view of the uncertainty experienced by schools with the minor works grant being announced at a later date each year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21520/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Minor Works Grant was first introduced in 1997 and since then has issued to primary schools each school year with the exception of the school year 2012/2013. The grant most recently issued to all primary schools last December in respect of the school year 2017/2018. The payment of the Minor Works Grant is not confined to any particular date and can be issued during any month of the school year. For the 2002/2003 school year, part of the grant was paid in May 2003, with the balance in October 2003.

With regards to the Minor Works Grant 2018/2019, it is intended that the grant will issue no later than January 2019.

My Department recognises the importance of the Minor Works Grant to primary schools. The National Development Plan 2018-2027 signals a gradual ramping up in capital expenditure in the schools sector over the coming years. In that context, and as part of our longer term infrastructural planning, my Department would intend to put the Minor Works Grant on an annual footing and to provide greater certainty to schools on the timing of payment.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (99)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

99. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 147 of 8 May 2018, if there is a live application in place for a school (details supplied) under the summer works scheme; if it is one of the remaining schools approved for works; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21531/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question applied for funding under the Summer Works Scheme, under Category 9 - Curricular Requirement Works. The Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is designed to allow schools to carry out small and medium sized building works that will improve and upgrade existing school buildings.

As advised, the Summer Works Scheme is a multi-annual scheme in respect of which 1,650 schools submitted applications. To date almost €80 million has been allocated in respect of over 635 schools applications in Categories 1-6 that have been approved. In that regard it is expected over €25 million will be expended in respect of approved projects in 2018.

Over 700 applications in categories 7-10, including an application from the school referred to, that are seeking funding of over €50 million, remain to be assessed.

Schools Building Projects Administration

Ceisteanna (100)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

100. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the appointment of an architect to a school project (details supplied) will be prioritised in order that the school can proceed to planning without further delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21540/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Invitation to Tender documents for a replacement architect for the major building project at the school referred to by the Deputy were issued on 11 May 2018.

The latest date for the return of Tenders is 28 May 2018. The Assessment of the Tenders will then take place.

Planning Permission for the major building project was received from Fingal County Council on 21 January 2015.

Education and Training Boards

Ceisteanna (101)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

101. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the organisations he has specified as having a special interest in education and training as per section 30(11)(a) of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013; the process for inclusion on the list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21552/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Section 30 (1) of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 provides for the composition of each Board, as follows: 12 members elected by the relevant local authority or local authorities; 2 education and training board staff members elected by staff members; 2 members appointed by the Board from nominees of the National Parents' Council; 5 members appointed by the Board from bodies specified by the Minister which have a special interest in, or knowledge of, education.

In accordance with Section 30(11)(a) of the Act, the bodies to be specified must include at least one body from each of the following categories: (i) bodies representative of business, industry and employers; (ii) bodies representative of learners; (iii) bodies representative of persons engaged in the management of, or leadership in, recognised schools. A Board is required to appoint at least one member from each of these categories and, of the 5 persons appointed from these bodies, at least two must be women and least two must be men. All must reside within the functional area of the Board. The 16 other members of the Board will make the appointments in accordance with these requirements.

The bodies specified by the Minister of Education and Skills In accordance with Section 30(11)(a) of the ETB Act 2013 are as follows:

1 Bodies representative of business, industry and employers

- Chambers Ireland

- Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME)

- Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation (IBEC)

2 Bodies representative of Learners

- AONTAS (National Adult Learning Organisation)

-National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA)

3 Bodies representative of persons engaged in the management of, or leadership in, recognised schools

- Joint Managerial Body;

- Association of Community and Comprehensive Schools;

- National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals;

4 Bodies which are not in the three designated categories.

- Youth Work Ireland

- Scouting Ireland

- INOU

- Irish Second Level Students Union

- Irish Congress of trade unions (ICTU)

- Foras na Gaeilge (to cooperate with Udaras na Gaeltachta in Gaeltacht areas)

- National Youth Council of Ireland

- Foróige

- Disability Federation of Ireland

- AHEAD

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (102)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

102. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the minimum age and educational qualifications required by those seeking to apply for a place on an apprenticeship programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21553/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to be eligible to undertake an apprenticeship an applicant must be employed by a SOLAS approved employer and be at least 16 years of age.

In the case of craft apprenticeships an applicant must have a minimum of grade D in five subjects in the Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent or have successfully completed an approved pre-apprenticeship course. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity is also acceptable.

The minimum entry requirements for each of the eleven new consortia led apprenticeships that are currently operational vary depending on the apprenticeship and are available on the website www.apprenticeship.ie.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (103)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

103. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the measures he is taking to promote access to apprenticeship programmes for those with fewer opportunities and that may be subject to social and or economic disadvantage; if measures similar to the third level access programmes will be considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21554/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As set out in our Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland, SOLAS, in conjunction with my Department, is currently reviewing pathways to participation in apprenticeship for a range of under-represented groups. The review will identify any barriers that may exist to participation in an apprenticeship programme for these groups and make recommendations for the future. The purpose of the review is to ensure that our national apprenticeship system is more reflective of the range and diversity of our population and more inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities. The review will be completed by end of June and any recommendations made will be implemented quickly.

In addition, a digital campaign to promote apprenticeship is now under way with a dedicated Twitter feed #Generation Apprenticeship, a new apprenticeship website www.apprenticeship.ie , an Apprenticeship Ireland Facebook page and a LinkedIn page. The campaign seeks to promote the values of the apprenticeship model for both employers and prospective apprentices. The campaign has also been designed to influence parents, teachers and potential apprentices on the career paths and further educational opportunities arising from apprenticeship programmes.

Institutes of Technology

Ceisteanna (104, 105, 106, 107)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

104. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason, five months after the publication of the report of the GMIT working group on the future of the Mayo campus, none of the recommendations contained in the report has been acted upon and or implemented; and the timeframe for implementation of same. [21571/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

105. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an external facilitator will be appointed to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the report of the GMIT working group on the future of the Mayo campus in view of the fact this was promised five months ago. [21572/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

106. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a head of campus for the Mayo campus of GMIT will be appointed. [21573/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

107. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the recruitment process that commenced in 2018 for the head of the Mayo campus of GMIT was stalled or failed; the reason no head of campus was appointed; the plans to recruit a head of campus; if a new recruitment process will commence; and if so, when. [21574/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 104 to 107, inclusive, together. The Government is committed to the future sustainability of the Castlebar Campus of Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT). This is the reason why I established the Working Group in March 2017 to develop a plan that would safeguard the future of the Castlebar campus.

The Report of the Working Group was published in December 2017. It provides a wide-ranging assessment of the context within which the Campus is currently operating, and outlines a proposed vision for the future of the Mayo Campus. It also provides a strategic and comprehensive plan to address the financial and sustainability issues which have been experienced by the GMIT Mayo Campus in recent years.

The Working Group recommendations are primarily for GMIT to implement. However, there are recommendations that relate specifically to my Department for action. In response to this my Department has prioritised these recommendations including the provision of ring fenced funding for the Castlebar campus for each of the next five years while the plan is being implemented. I wish to advise that the provision of this additional funding is contingent on GMIT progressing the implementation of the recommendations of the report, and is subject to review by the HEA.

My Department and the HEA are working with GMIT to ensure that the other recommendations are being progressed. These include the appointment of an external facilitator and the appointment of a head of campus for the Mayo campus.

I understand that the recruitment campaign for the head of campus will be initiated by GMIT shortly. A previous recruitment process had to be cancelled by GMIT.

The appointment of an independent external facilitator who will oversee the transition to the new structural and operational arrangements is a significant recommendation. The facilitator will play an important role in supporting the implementation of a number of the other Working Group recommendations. The procurement of this expertise will be initiated shortly by GMIT.

GMIT has established a sub committee to ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the report. This committee and GMIT issue regular updates on progress to the HEA who will continue to oversee the implementation of the recommendations of the report.

I would like to again assure the Deputy that my Department and the HEA will continue to work with GMIT on ensuring that the recommendations of the Working Group are implemented as soon as possible, and with appropriate consultation with relevant stakeholders, to ensure the future sustainability of the Castlebar campus.

Emergency Works Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (108)

Anne Rabbitte

Ceist:

108. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school (details supplied); the reason for refusal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21576/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers recently submitted an appeal to my Department requesting a review of its application for funding under the Emergency Works Grant Scheme to address roof issues. This review has been carried out and it has been decided that a member of my Department's Professional & Technical team should visit the school and report on the matter. The visit will take place as soon as possible. Following receipt of the report a final decision will issue directly to the school authority.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (109, 110)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

109. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the refurbishment and the provision of an extension for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21578/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

110. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the commencement date for a prefabricated replacement for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21579/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, a project for the school in question is included in my Department's 6 Year Construction Programme.

I understand that the technical assessment process in respect of the project (to include the extension, refurbishment and prefab replacement) has been completed and the Project Brief is now being finalised. In that context, my Department will be in further contact with the school shortly in relation to the next steps to be taken to initiate the architectural planning process for the project concerned.