Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (189)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

189. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if investigations have been carried out into the establishment of a national body to cater for rivers and watercourses that are prone to flooding but are not the responsibility of the OPW or local authority (details supplied). [5480/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Office of Public Works (OPW) is responsible for the maintenance of Arterial Drainage Schemes and catchment drainage schemes designated under the Arterial Drainage Acts of 1945 and 1995. Local authorities have responsibility for the maintenance of Drainage Districts designated under the same Arterial Drainage Acts.

Local flooding issues are a matter, in the first instance, for each Local Authority to investigate and address. Local Authorities may carry out flood mitigation works using their own resources or with financial assistance from the OPW's Minor Flood Mitigation Works & Coastal Protection Scheme. This scheme provides 90% funding to Local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies, costing less than €0.75 million each, to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The OPW consider each application in accordance with the Scheme’s eligibility criteria and having regard to the overall availability of resources for flood risk management. The criteria for the Scheme is available on www.opw.ie and Local Authorities liaise closely with my Office on the implementation of the Scheme. Since 2009, approximately €46.4m has been approved for in excess of 720 projects around the country which illustrates its many benefits to communities all over Ireland.

The OPW will shortly be publishing on www.flooding.ie guidance to landowners in relation to the maintenance of watercourses on or near their lands in the context of managing flood risk.

In line with Government policy the OPW, which is leading a whole of Government response to addressing flood risk, completed the largest ever study of flood risk undertaken by the State in 2018. The Flood Risk Management Plans are the output from the Catchment Flood Risk Assessment and Management (CFRAM) Programme and are underpinned by €1bn in investment in flood relief measures over the next 10 years. The OPW is responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of these measures over the coming decade.

Details of the works proposed for Donegal are available on the OPW website, www.floodinfo.ie. I have met with Donegal County Council and agreed mechanisms for the progression of flood relief schemes as a priority for Lifford, Burnfoot, Castlefin, Carrowkeel, Downings and Glenties.

Civil Service Management

Ceisteanna (190)

Mary Lou McDonald

Ceist:

190. Deputy Mary Lou McDonald asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the Civil Service employee assistance service provides supports to staff and management of the Civil Service in the area of domestic and gender-based violence; if the service plans to incorporate workplace awareness of domestic abuse into its work programme and people managers’ guide. [5482/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Civil Service Employee Assistance Service (CSEAS) provides support to civil servants experiencing workplace and personal difficulties. This includes supporting individuals who have experienced domestic and gender based violence. Information on the CSEAS (information leaflets, and website etc) advises that the CSEAS provides one-to-one support and guidance in the areas of relationships, marital and family issues, including domestic violence. The CSEAS website has links to the websites of both The National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (COSC) and Women’s Aid.

The People Managers' Guide is a resource for managers to assist them in responding to staff who are facing work and life challenges. The topics covered in the first iteration of the Guide were determined following consultation with managers across the departments in the Civil Service and based on the experience of the main issues dealt with by Employee Assistance Officers.

The e-version of this guide is a living document and information on this and other issues can be incorporated over time to reflect the key challenges that are faced by staff and managers in the civil service.

The CSEAS also develops and publishes a wide range of information and support leaflets on welfare related topics each year. These reflect many of the key issues that affect the workforce.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (191)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

191. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date in October 2018 on which his attention was drawn to, either formally or informally, of the overspends in the costs of the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5619/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I've been involved in a number of discussions around the Children’s Hospital over the last few years. The first full assessment of the cost overrun and the reasons for it was received by my Department in the form of a report from the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board submitted by the Department of Health on 19 November. My Department reviewed the report and met with the Department of Health to discuss it on 23 November and made a formal submission to me on 26 November.

EU Funding

Ceisteanna (192)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

192. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the outcome of discussions to date with the European Commission on the Cohesion Funding post-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5651/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Following the publication of the Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) on 02 May 2018, the Commission published their Cohesion Policy Legislative package on 29 May, along with initial indicative allocations of structural and cohesion fund support for each Member State.

In Ireland’s case this allocated was estimated to be €1.088 billion. However, it should be noted that final details of Ireland’s ultimate allocation will not be confirmed until after the conclusion of negotiations on the MFF. Beyond this estimate, there is no further detail available as to what the final allocation will be or how it will be allocated between the various Funds. For the next round, the Border Midland and Western Region will revert to being a transition region, as its GDP per capita is between 75% and 100% of the average EU GDP, while the Southern and Eastern Region remains a more developed region. The level of co-financing to be provided by the Member State has increased to 60% for more developed regions, 45% for transitions regions and 30% for less developed regions (up from 50%, 40% and 15/20%).

In line with the obligations under the European (Scrutiny) Act, 2002, and the European Union Act, 2009, with regard to the provision of information on EU business to the Oireachtas, scrutiny notes were prepared in relation to all elements of the package and have been considered by Joint Oireachtas Committee on EU Affairs.

Since the European Commission published its legislative proposals on the regulations governing the implementation Cohesion Policy programmes post 2020, discussions have been on-going at Working Party and Ministerial level with Member States, seeking to clarify the proposals and assess their implications. Ireland is participating actively in these negotiations. In general Ireland believes that the legislative package is a good starting point for negotiations and welcomes, in particular, the level of simplification introduced in relation to the implementation of programmes.

Since the European Commission published its legislative proposals discussions have been on-going at Working Party and Ministerial Level and Council’s position on the overall package remains to be finalised.

Following on from the Bulgarian Presidency, who undertook the first examinations and considerations of the overall package, the Austrian Presidency held working party meetings almost weekly, aimed at progressing the Common Provisions Regulation (CPR), the European Regional Development Fund Regulation/Cohesion Fund (ERDF/CF), the European Social Fund + Regulation (ESF+), the European Territorial Cooperation Regulation (ETC) and the European Cross Border Mechanism Regulation (ECBM) – while concentrating on the CPR. This has allowed a "partial general agreement" (i.e., agreement on particular negotiating blocks, subject to overall agreement on MFF) on the Council’s position, ahead of further negotiations with the European Parliament, to be reached on two blocks (or parts) of the Common Provisions Regulation, i.e. Blocks 1 and 5, relating to programming and strategic planning (Block 1), and management and control (Block 5). These were prioritised by the Austrian Presidency to assist national and regional authorities with their preparations for planning and programming the implementation of post 2020 programmes. The Austrian Presidency presented a progress report to the European Council on 13th/14th December before handing the file over to the incoming Romanian Presidency.

The Romanian Presidency commenced working party meetings on 10 January and like their predecessors have set out a very ambitions work programme involving almost weekly meetings. Their priority is to reach a partial general approach on further blocks of the Regulations before the 25 June European Council and they will continue discussions on the ERDF/CF, ESF+ and ETC Regulations based on progress made to date.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (193)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

193. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter (details supplied) regarding the provision of tuition to children diagnosed with Down's syndrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5231/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A new model for allocating special education teachers to schools was introduced in 2017.

Under this model, children can receive additional teaching support based on their learning needs, rather than on a diagnosis of disability.

Parents of children who have Down syndrome have certainty that their children can receive as much additional teaching support as required in school, taking account of school based assessments of their learning needs.

There is no constraint on the amount of additional teaching time that may be allocated to pupils with Down syndrome, based on their diagnosis, or because they may previously have been in the mild general learning difficulty category.

My Department's July Provision Grant Scheme provides funding for an extended school year for students with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The scheme was developed to reduce potential regression in learning associated with these specific categories of special education needs over the summer holidays. The scheme does not make provision for children with other categories of Special Education Needs.

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

The NCSE review found that in general parents value July provision because it provides day-time respite for families and a structured day for students.

However, the NCSE review found a number of problems with the scheme as currently organised.

These include concerns that the scheme may be inequitable because it is not provided to all students with complex special educational needs.

The Council recommended that the relevant Government Departments consider how an equitable national day activity scheme could be developed for all students with complex special educational needs.

The proposed scheme would provide a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs, which might include some children with Down syndrome.

The Department of Education and Skills has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and representatives from other relevant Departments and agencies to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered.

There are no plans to change the July provision scheme coverage until this work is complete.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (194)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

194. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to introduce a July provision and individual education plans as called for by an organisation (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5281/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A new model for allocating special education teachers to schools was introduced in 2017.

Under this model, children can receive additional teaching support based on their learning needs, rather than on a diagnosis of disability.

Parents of children who have Down syndrome have certainty that their children can receive as much additional teaching support as required in school, taking account of school based assessments of their learning needs.

There is no constraint on the amount of additional teaching time that may be allocated to pupils with Down syndrome, based on their diagnosis, or because they may previously have been in the mild general learning difficulty category.

My Department's July Provision Grant Scheme provides funding for an extended school year for students with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The scheme was developed to reduce potential regression in learning associated with these specific categories of special education needs over the summer holidays. The scheme does not make provision for children with other categories of Special Education Needs.

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

The NCSE review found that in general parents value July provision because it provides day-time respite for families and a structured day for students.

However, the NCSE review found a number of problems with the scheme as currently organised.

These include concerns that the scheme may be inequitable because it is not provided to all students with complex special educational needs.

The Council recommended that the relevant Government Departments consider how an equitable national day activity scheme could be developed for all students with complex special educational needs.

The proposed scheme would provide a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs, which might include some children with Down syndrome.

The Department of Education and Skills has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and representatives from other relevant Departments and agencies to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered.

There are no plans to change the July provision scheme coverage until this work is complete.

Schools have a legal duty to provide an appropriate education to all students, including young people with special educational needs, and need to plan to ensure this happens.

Guidelines for schools on educational planning and monitoring of outcomes through the Student Support File, are contained in the Guidelines for Primary and Post primary Schools: Supporting Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs in Mainstream Schools.

Planning is a normal part of a teacher’s work and planning tools, like the student support file, have been created as a resource to help schools provide for their students. A variety of supports is available to support schools in this regard.

School Funding

Ceisteanna (195)

John Brady

Ceist:

195. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding available under the schools capital appraisal section for 2019. [4937/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department's capital allocation in 2019 is €941m of which €672m is being allocated for capital spending in primary and post-primary schools. The school sector allocation will be expended primarily on the delivery of large scale projects and on the Additional Accommodation Scheme. Funding will be available for large scale projects that commenced on site in 2018 or earlier and that will remain under construction in 2019 and for large scale projects that are positioned to commence construction in 2019.

Information in relation to the current status of all major school building projects and additional accommodation projects is available on my Departments website and this information is updated on a regular basis.

Typically, expenditure levels of between 70% and 80% of the capital allocation available to schools annually is in respect of large scale projects and the Additional Accommodation Scheme. The balance available in 2019 will be expended on site acquisitions, the Summer Works Scheme, the Emergency Works Scheme, furniture and equipment provision and other smaller programmes.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (196, 197)

John Brady

Ceist:

196. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications for additional accommodation that have been made and subsequently approved or rejected under the schools capital appraisal section to date in 2019, in tabular form. [4938/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Brady

Ceist:

197. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications made for additional accommodation and considered by the schools capital appraisal section in 2017 and 2018, by county; and the number of applications approved and rejected, respectively by county. [4939/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 196 and 197 together.

Information on the number of applications received in 2017 and 2018 is not available. 44 applications have been received to date in 2019. Information in relation to all approved additional accommodation applications since 2011 and the current status of each is available on my Department's website and this information is updated on a weekly basis.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (198)

John Brady

Ceist:

198. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Education and Skills the grounds on which applications for additional accommodation are approved under the schools capital appraisal section; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4940/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that applications received under my Department’s Additional School Accommodation scheme are considered where an immediate long-term enrolment need has been identified and additional teacher(s) has been appointed and the school’s existing accommodation is not in a position to meet that need. In such cases, my Department would provide funding to a school for the necessary additional classroom(s).

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (199)

Danny Healy-Rae

Ceist:

199. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to ensure that adequate education resources are made available for children with Down's syndrome under the July provision (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4948/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A new model for allocating special education teachers to schools was introduced in 2017.

Under this model, children can receive additional teaching support based on their learning needs, rather than on a diagnosis of disability.

Parents of children who have Down syndrome have certainty that their children can receive as much additional teaching support as required in school, taking account of school based assessments of their learning needs.

There is no constraint on the amount of additional teaching time that may be allocated to pupils with Down syndrome, based on their diagnosis, or because they may previously have been in the mild general learning difficulty category.

My Department's July Provision Grant Scheme provides funding for an extended school year for students with severe or profound intellectual disabilities and students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The scheme was developed to reduce potential regression in learning associated with these specific categories of special education needs over the summer holidays. The scheme does not make provision for children with other categories of Special Education Needs.

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

The NCSE review found that in general parents value July provision because it provides day-time respite for families and a structured day for students.

However, the NCSE review found a number of problems with the scheme as currently organised.

These include concerns that the scheme may be inequitable because it is not provided to all students with complex special educational needs.

The Council recommended that the relevant Government Departments consider how an equitable national day activity scheme could be developed for all students with complex special educational needs.

The proposed scheme would provide a structured, safe, social environment for all students with complex special educational needs, which might include some children with Down syndrome.

The Department of Education and Skills has convened an Implementation Group with representatives of the NCSE, NEPS, the Inspectorate and representatives from other relevant Departments and agencies to ensure that the Report’s recommendations are fully and appropriately considered.

There are no plans to change the July provision scheme coverage until this work is complete.

Oideachas Gaeilge

Ceisteanna (200)

Aengus Ó Snodaigh

Ceist:

200. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna an bhfuil nó an raibh an comhairliúchán poiblí maidir leis an gcóras díolúine ón nGaeilge a leasú teoranta do na moltaí sa pháipéar comhairliúcháin agus sa dá dhréachtchiorclán, nó an bhfuil a Roinn sásta moltaí eile a rinneadh a chur i gcuntas, mar shampla, córas nua a chur i bhfeidhm chun nach mbeadh gá leis an gcóras díolúine amach anseo; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [4950/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Is cúis áthais dom a rá go raibh an-suim ann, le níos mó ná 11,000 freagraí ar an gComhairliúchán Poiblí maidir le polasaí agus cleachtadh a bhaineann le díolúine ó staidéar na Gaeilge.

Déanfaidh an Roinn gach aighneacht a scrúdú.

School Enrolments

Ceisteanna (201)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

201. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4963/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy would be aware, in most rural and provincial areas, there is generally one post-primary school that is attended by most of the students in that area. However, parents and students in larger urban areas have a greater choice of post primary schools. Among the factors that comes into consideration when selecting a school are the schools admissions policy, the range of subjects offered by the school, the various Programmes offered, school facilities and extra-curricular activities etc. The choice of post primary school is an important decision and parents and students must have the option of weighing up all the factors that a school has to offer and which best serves their individual needs and educational requirements.

A student can attend the post-primary school of their choice, provided there is a place available. Where there is an accommodation problem, the school must give priority on the basis of its enrolment policy which is drawn up by their board of management. While most post-primary schools are in a position to enroll all students who apply, there is no automatic guarantee of a place in the school that the student chooses.

On this basis therefore parents and students, in order to avoid disappointment, will initially register interest in more than one post primary school in order to increase the likelihood that they will be accepted into a school that meets their needs. When the student officially accepts the offer of a place in a particular school, they are then officially enrolled into that school.

As final enrolment plans may not be known until late August, my Department’s Post Primary Online Database (P-POD) permits enrolment in more than one school to facilitate this. All post-primary schools are required to make their returns of students (known as the October Returns) via P-POD. Any multi enrolments of a student that may exist at that time are identified by P-POD administrative staff, who follow up these returns with the schools in question and ascertain which school has officially enrolled the student. The enrolment data for the other schools is then amended accordingly. Any grants or special needs resources allocated to schools are based on this (verified) October Return enrolment figure.

Teacher Supply

Ceisteanna (202)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

202. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the actions he has taken to resolve the teacher supply issue. [4970/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Management bodies and schools have, in recent years, reported difficulties in recruiting teachers. At primary level this relates mainly to the recruitment of substitute teachers and at post-primary level to the recruitment of teachers of particular subjects (e.g. STEM, modern foreign languages, Irish and Home Economics).

In response to these difficulties, the Teacher Supply Steering Group was established in March of last year and the Group is chaired by the Secretary General of my Department.

The Steering 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.

The Steering Group is overseeing the Action Plan for Teacher Supply, which was published in November 2018 with twenty-two actions in the four policy areas. These actions include:

- In December 2018, a national campaign for the promotion of the teaching profession was launched across a number of platforms, including radio and digital media.

- A new ‘Teaching Transforms’ webpage providing information about teaching as a career to school and third level students, as well as teachers not currently working in Ireland, was launched. The resource is available at www.gov.ie/teachingtransforms.

- Five regional focus groups were held for principals, teachers and parents to consider and respond to the Action Plan and to contribute new ideas. It is intended to hold a focus group for student teachers in the coming months.

- Following engagement with the HEA, a number of HEIs will provide new post primary initial teacher education (ITE) undergraduate programmes in 2019 in priority subject areas, including mathematics, modern foreign languages and Irish. The HEIs also plan to commence more new undergraduate ITE programmes in 2020.

- At the request of my Department, the HEA is to engage with the ITE programme providers: to develop new proposals for flexible options which will facilitate access to, and participation in, the PME in targeted subject areas; to explore the development of a programme to encourage and support teachers not currently in the labour force to return to teaching; and to explore the development of programmes to upskill existing teachers in targeted subject areas.

- An additional €1 million has been allocated in the current academic year to the Student Assistance Fund (SAF) for Professional Master of Education (PME) students who are experiencing financial difficulty.

- The Teaching Council, at the request of my Department, is reviewing the implementation of school placement guidelines for student teachers, with a particular focus on school/HEI partnerships.

- In the current school year the limits that teachers on career break can work as substitutes were suspended.

At this point the Steering Group and the working groups reporting to it have met on a number of occasions, and I hope to be in a position to make further announcements in the coming months.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (203)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

203. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will request SOLAS to review its placement procedures for apprentices to the national apprenticeship centres nationally to ensure the apprentice is placed at the location that is as close as possible to a location in which his or her required course is provided (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4979/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The SOLAS apprenticeship scheduling management system aims to call apprentices for their off-the-job training, on a longest waiting basis on the day of scheduling to the nearest available Education and Training Board or Institute of Technology. Whilst every effort is made to eliminate unnecessary travel, unfortunately for some apprentices it is impossible to avoid having to attend training facilities that are not in their locality. All apprentices are advised at their mandatory induction briefings of the scheduling process.

In situations where apprentices are required to move from their current place of residence, in order to take up an offer of a training place, they are entitled to make an application for an accommodation allowance, in addition to their weekly training allowance, for the duration of the course.

I am informed by SOLAS that they are unaware of any particular issues with regard to the scheduling of off the job training in the locations referenced. However, if the Deputy would like to supply further details I will ask SOLAS to examine the matter.

Schools Health and Safety

Ceisteanna (204)

Pat Casey

Ceist:

204. Deputy Pat Casey asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to review the procedures regarding lunch times at primary schools, particularly to ensure the children attending have sufficient hygiene and time to eat their food; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4981/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998, the Board of Management is responsible for the day to day running of a school.

Circular 11/95 “Time in School” paragraph 3 states that a typical school day for Junior classes is 4 hours and 40 minutes and Senior classes 5 hours and 40 minutes with appropriate recreation i.e. 30 minutes. Under the Rules for National Schools, forenoon and afternoon breaks of five minutes each are allowed.

Where a recreation interval or break of a longer duration than the foregoing are taken (for example when children are allowed to have lunch in the classroom prior to the official commencement of the recreation interval) the length of the school day must be extended correspondingly.

The arrangement within the recreation interval for pupils to eat their lunch is a matter for each Board of Management to determine. My Department has not issued guidelines to schools in this regard.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (205)

James Browne

Ceist:

205. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding the construction of a new school (details supplied); if the schedule of accommodation has been completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4996/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that a building project for the school to which he refers is included in my Department's Capital Programme.

My Department is currently finalising the project brief with a view to progressing the project into the architectural planning process. The brief is expected to be completed shortly and my Department will be in further contact with the patron when this process has been completed.

Schools Health and Safety

Ceisteanna (206)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

206. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills if funding is available to schools to provide training for teachers through approved courses on the administration of EpiPens; his plans to provide such funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4999/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Board of Management is the body charged with the overall governance and management of a school under the Education Act 1998.

The Board of Management of each school is responsible for the care and safety of all of the students in their school and care and safety should be at the centre of all policy and practices. Schools are required to take all reasonable precautions to provide training for teachers to ensure the safety and welfare of their pupils.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) advise that, by law, employers and those who control workplaces to any extent, must identify hazards in the workplaces under their control and assess the risk presented by the hazards.

Employers must identify the risks and mitigating actions. The aim of Risk Management is to reduce the risk of injury and illness associated with work. The Risk Assessment(s) will form part of the employer's Safety Statement.

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 set out the First-Aid requirements for workplaces as follows: "Employers have a duty to provide first-aid equipment at all places at work where working conditions require it. Depending on the size or specific hazard (or both) of the place of work, trained occupational first-aiders must also be provided. Apart from some exceptions, first-aid rooms must be provided where appropriate. Information must also be provided to employees as regards the first-aid facilities and arrangements in place."

It is important that the school management authority requests parents to inform the school of any medical condition suffered by any student attending. Where the school is aware of potential difficulties that may arise as a consequence of a medical condition suffered by one or more students, it may be possible for the management authorities, working in conjunction with parents, teachers and children to put preventative measures in place to lessen the possibility of any difficulties arising or to ensure that, if a student suffers from an illness requiring, for example, the administration of medication, that appropriate treatment is available.

The organisation of training in the administration of medicines is a matter for the Board of Management and my Department has no plans for future training programmes in this area.