Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (138)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

138. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44288/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the school in question submitted an application for major capital funding to my Department.

The Deputy will be aware that the National Development Plan (NDP) provides for an €8.4 billion investment in school buildings over the period 2018 to 2027 to deliver on NDP and National Planning Framework objectives through addressing the twin priorities of catering for demographics and ensuring a strengthened focus on refurbishment of existing school stock. This investment will result in an almost doubling of the capital budget for school buildings - €540m in 2018 rising to an annual average of circa. €1 billion in the second half of the NDP period.

The strengthened focus on refurbishment of existing school stock will have different strands including prefab replacement, PE hall and school laboratory build and modernisation programmes as well as the commencement and progression of a deep energy retrofit of primary and post-primary schools built prior to 2008.

The application from the school referred to by the Deputy remains available to be considered in this context.

Teacher Recruitment

Ceisteanna (139)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

139. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the steering group set up earlier in 2018 to address the problems with teacher recruitment; and the progress of its work to date. [44320/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Steering Group on Teacher Supply was established in March 2018. The Steering Group is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of Education and Skills and it includes nominees of the Department, HEIs providing primary and post primary initial teacher education, the Teaching Council, the HEA, primary and post primary school management bodies, as well as an independent expert. The Steering Group has met on four occasions, most recently on September 10th. 

The Group is considering the issues that impact on teacher supply, including: initial teacher education policy, provision, funding and support; data/research requirements; policies and arrangements for schools and teachers that impact on teacher mobility/supply; and promotion of the teaching profession. In undertaking its task, the Group is cognisant of the requirement that all persons wishing to teach in recognised schools must meet the professional registration standards and criteria set by the Teaching Council, which is the professional regulatory body for the teaching profession.

Psychological Services

Ceisteanna (140)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

140. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason psychological services are no longer available at a school (details supplied); when the services ceased; when they will resume; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44332/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments (SCPA).

All mainstream schools in Galway City and County receive a service from NEPS psychologists based in the Galway Office. While there are currently two psychologist vacancies in this office, all schools continue to have access to support and development, critical incident and advisory support from NEPS and pupil casework via their assigned NEPS psychologist or via SCPA. The school to which the Deputy refers in his question is receiving assessment services via SCPA.  This situation is temporary and replacement staff are currently being sought from recruitment panels administered by the Public Appointments Service. These are expected to be engaged by the end of this calendar year.

My Department remains committed to the maintenance of our educational psychological service and the valuable supports it provides to our schools and would instance the announcement, in the context of last weeks’ Budget, of a further staffing increase of 10 psychologist posts for NEPS as tangible evidence of this ongoing commitment.

Schools Building Contractors

Ceisteanna (141, 142)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

141. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the certification process undertaken at a school (details supplied) with regard to the standard of construction works completed in 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44335/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

142. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the contingency plans in place at a school (details supplied) as a result of the closure of a school building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44336/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 141 and 142 together.

My Department was made aware of structural issues that were identified during opening up works at the school referred to by the Deputy and is working closely with the Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board in dealing with the issues.

Following advice from a consultant structural engineer and in consultation with the relevant Dublin and Dún Laoghaire Education and Training Board a decision was taken to close a section of the school in question. A number of students have been accommodated in the section of the school that remains open and a number of transition year students were requested to remain at home for one week.

The school in question was constructed in two phases and the portion of the school that is currently closed was constructed in 2009 under a Design and Build contract. A copy of certificates of compliance were forwarded to the Department at the time the school building was handed over in 2009.

I want to reassure the Deputy that at all times the key priority of my Department is the safety of students and staff.

Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (143)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

143. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to review the sale of a stadium (details supplied) to his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44337/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Department acquired the Harold’s Cross Greyhound Stadium site from the Irish Greyhound Board in line with the DPER Circular 11/15: Protocols for the Transfer and Sharing of State Property Assets.  This circular requires the Valuation Office to provide a determination of market value of the property to be disposed which is binding on both the disposing and acquiring Government Department or State body. 

In line with my undertaking to the Deputy last week, I published the Valuation Office Report in respect of this site on my Department's website on 19 October 2018 - link as follows: 

www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/valuation-report-of-harold%E2%80%99s-cross-greyhound-stadium-site-by-valuation-office-update-note-.pdf. 

In addition, the Valuation Office provided a recent update to my Department on matters related to the valuation.  This update, which was requested by Department and received on the week beginning 15 October 2018 was also published on my Department's website on 19 October 2018 - link as follows:

www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/valuation-report-of-harold%E2%80%99s-cross-greyhound-stadium-site-by-valuation-office-update-note-.pdf.

I trust both these documents outline the considerations the Valuation Office applied to the market valuation of the site.  I have also asked my officials to directly contact the Deputy regarding this process.

Teacher Data

Ceisteanna (144)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

144. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of unfilled teaching posts by school; the number which have been vacant for over six months in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44338/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Teacher allocations to all schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment. The criteria for the allocation of posts are communicated to school management annually and are available on the Department website.  The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30 September.

The recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts as permitted by the staffing schedule is a matter for the individual Board of Management of each school, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012). The deployment of teaching staff in the school, the range of subjects offered and ultimately the quality of teaching and learning are in the first instance a matter for the school management authorities.

Teachers are employed by the managerial authorities of schools and the onus is on the managerial authorities to fill all vacancies as permitted by the staffing schedule. Proposals for appointments to schools are submitted by the managerial authorities.  The processing of applications for payment is ongoing at present in the payroll sections of my Department. The deadline for submission of appointments to posts for the 18/19 school year is the first working day in November.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (145)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

145. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the completion of schools and colleges contained within the schools bundle 5 public private partnership; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44339/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Schools Bundle 5 Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme comprises five school buildings and one further education college across four sites in Bray, Wexford, Carlow and Kells.  Completion of these projects was delayed due to the liquidation of Carillion Construction Ltd in January of this year and the examinership and subsequent liquidation of Carillion's sub-contractor, Sammon Contracting Ireland Ltd (SCIL).

A replacement contractor was appointed in June 2018 and three of the six schools, Coláiste Ráithín and Ravenswell Primary school in Bray and Loreto Secondary School in Wexford, have achieved service commencement and are now fully operational.  

The replacement contractor is now completing the remaining three buildings, Tyndall College and Carlow Institute of Further Education in Carlow, and Eureka Secondary School in Kells.  These projects are currently targeted for completion by end December 2018/January 2019.

School Transport Eligibility

Ceisteanna (146)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

146. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there is a provision for awarding the remote area grant to a person that has been refused same on the basis that there is a school closer to their residence under the patronage of their preferred ethos in cases in which they were unable to secure a place in the closer school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44341/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

In the 2017/18 school year over 117,000 children, including over 12,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 4,500 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually at a total cost of almost €190 million in 2017.

The purpose of the School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

In general, children are eligible for school transport if they meet the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are eligible for school transport but for whom no transport service is available may, following an application for transport within the prescribed time limits, receive a Remote Area Grant towards the cost of private transport arrangements.

This grant is also payable for eligible children who may have to travel 3.2 kilometres or more to or from a designated pick up/set down point. 

In cases where the Department is satisfied that the nearest school is full, eligibility for school transport will be determined based on the distance that children reside from their next nearest school having regard to ethos and language.  Further information in this regard is available on my Department's website www.education.ie.

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (147)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

147. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the breakdown of staff in his Department by grade. [44353/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out below in the table.

Grade

Headcount

Secretary General          

1

Assistant Secretary        

10

Principal Officer (and equivalent)

167

Assistant Principal Officer (and equivalent)

355

Higher Executive Officer               

178

Administrative Officer  

20

Executive Officer            

312

Clerical Officer  

307

Other

 27

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (148)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

148. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 133 of 9 October 2018, his views in relation to further correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44366/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department is currently considering the school's request for a revision in the scope of works proposed at the school. My Department expects to be in a position to convey a decision to the school shortly.

National Educational Psychological Service

Ceisteanna (149)

Eugene Murphy

Ceist:

149. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary and secondary schools in counties Roscommon and Galway in which psychological services are no longer available; the reason the services were removed; when the services ceased; when they are expected to resume; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44378/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments (SCPA).

Mainstream schools in Counties Galway and Roscommon receive a service from NEPS psychologists based in the NEPS offices in Galway City and Roscommon town. While there are currently two psychologist vacancies in the Galway office, all schools continue to have access to support and development, critical incident and advisory support from NEPS and pupil casework via their assigned psychologist or via SCPA. Some 61 schools in Galway (52 primary, 9 post-primary) and 37 schools in Roscommon (35 primary and 2 post-primary) currently receive assessment services via the SCPA scheme. This situation is temporary and replacement staff are currently being sought from recruitment panels administered by the Public Appointments Service. These are expected to be engaged by the end of this calendar year.

My Department remains committed to the maintenance of our educational psychological service and the valuable supports it provides to our schools and would instance the announcement, in the context of last weeks’ Budget, of a further staffing increase of 10 psychologist posts for NEPS as tangible evidence of this ongoing commitment.

DEIS Data

Ceisteanna (150)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

150. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills the primary and secondary schools in County Donegal that have successfully obtained DEIS status and maintain DEIS status in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44380/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is available on the Social Inclusion Section of my Departments website, see - DEIS school list 2018 - 2019 school year,  at the following link:

www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/DEIS-Delivering-Equality-of-Opportunity-in-Schools-/.