Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (199)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

199. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of building plans for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the condition of the school building; if the matter will be expedited in view of the circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7680/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project referred to by the Deputy is for an extension (on the existing site) to accommodate a 12 classroom school with 1 Special Class and appropriate ancillary accommodation.

The project is included in my Department’s 6 year Construction Programme and will be delivered via the ADAPT programme. The ADAPT programme uses a professional external Project Manager to coordinate and drive the respective design teams on each project.

In this regard, a tender competition is in train to establish a Project Manager framework which is expected to be in place in March. Tenders have been returned and are currently being evaluated.

Whilst the Department must adhere to the Public Procurement rules for the appointment of consultant Design Teams the Building Unit will expedite this process in so far as possible.

All schools with projects on the ADAPT programme will be contacted shortly by my Department to provide an update on the status of their respective project.

After-School Support Services

Ceisteanna (200)

Marcella Corcoran Kennedy

Ceist:

200. Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedures in place to allow for an existing lease held by his Department to be changed on a vacant school building to facilitate the provision of suitable space to provide after-school childcare service (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7697/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The property referred to by the Deputy is not in my ownership. In common with other buildings of its kind, there is a charging lease in place on the property, in this case dated 1947 for 99 years to protect the state's investment in the property.

In circumstances where a property has ceased to be used as a school, and a request is received from the property owner to release the State's interest secured under a charging lease, such requests are considered in the context of the specific circumstances which pertain to the individual property.

My Department has considered a request from the property owner. The Chief State Solicitor's Office has been instructed in the matter and is in ongoing contact with the property owner's legal representatives.

Teacher Redeployment

Ceisteanna (201)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

201. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied) regarding teacher redeployment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7703/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment.

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.

The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus permanent/CID holding teachers to other schools that have vacancies. The redeployment of all surplus permanent/CID holding teachers is key to the Department's ability to manage within its payroll budget and ceiling on teacher numbers.

Thereafter the recruitment and appointment of teachers to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).The voluntary redeployment scheme for the 2019/20 school year allows teachers employed in schools in Counties Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny, Galway and Roscommon to volunteer for a transfer to other areas if such a transfer would free up a vacancy that would facilitate the redeployment of a surplus permanent teacher in that area.

The criteria used for the allocation of teachers to post-primary schools for the 2019/20 school year, including the redeployment arrangements, are available on the Department's website.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (202)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

202. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a project (details supplied) will proceed to the next stage in view of the need to upgrade existing accommodation and provide additional permanent accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7728/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project referred to by the Deputy is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been obtained.

The Design Team is currently completing work to ensure the new school building will be a "Near Zero Energy Building" (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations.

Upon completion of this work the Department will be in contact with the Board of Management regarding the further progression of the project.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (203, 219)

Gino Kenny

Ceist:

203. Deputy Gino Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the escalating problem of the lack of school places for children in an area (details supplied) in County Dublin; if a new school will open by 2020 as promised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

John Curran

Ceist:

219. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to address an educational crisis in view of the increasing number of children in an area (details supplied) who are not able to access the local primary school due to increased housing construction in the area; the timeframe in which this issue will be addressed; if his attention has been drawn to the urgency of the situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7898/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 and 219 together.

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, my Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses a Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, my Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Major new residential developments in a school planning area have the potential to alter demand in that area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, my Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential development in each area. This is necessary to ensure that schools infrastructure planning is keeping pace with demographic changes as there is a constantly evolving picture with planned new residential development, including additional residential developments arising from the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF).

Where data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following:

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy will be aware, in April 2018, the Government announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including:

- a new 8 classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Newcastle_Rathcoole/Saggart school planning area; and

- a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Tallaght and Newcastle_Rathcoole school planning areas as a regional solution.

This announcement follows nationwide, demographic exercises carried out by my Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

It is intended to deliver the two new schools as part of my Department's Design and Build programme in purpose-built accommodation on a shared site at Fortunestown Lane which is in the ownership of Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB.

The Capital Programme provides for devolved funding for additional classrooms, if required, for schools where an immediate enrolment need has been identified or where an additional teacher has been appointed. My Department has approved 3 temporary classrooms for Scoil Chronain NS Rathcoole to cater for immediate needs and these rooms are initially being provided for in Rathcoole Community Centre pending the arrival of 3 temporary classrooms at the school.

My Department is currently in the process of acquiring additional land owned by South Dublin County Council adjoining the site of this school and the additional land offers the potential to enhance current facilities and support future development. There is ongoing engagement with officials from South Dublin County Council on this matter.

The Educational Welfare Services of the Child & Family Agency (EWS) can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child. The EWS contact details are as follows: the Educational Welfare Services of the Child & Family Agency, Ground Floor, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin 8 or by telephone at 01 7718815.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (204)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

204. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be granted to a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7758/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application under Category 10 of the Summer Works Schemes (SWS) from the school in question regarding a boundary fence.

Under the 2016-2017 Summer Works Scheme, almost €117 million has been approved to date in respect of over 940 school projects in categories 1-9. Details of successful school applicants are published on my Department's website www.education.ie

With regard to the remaining applications under Category 10, which relate to external works such as fencing, upgrading and resurfacing of playgrounds and car parking, these applications require more detailed analysis. It is intended to undertake this analysis over the coming months with a view to enabling approved applications to proceed in 2020.

Schools Designation

Ceisteanna (205)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

205. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the co-education status will be determined for a school (details supplied); if it will provide for 2019 enrolment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7783/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has recently liaised with the school Patron, of the school in question, regarding an application to change the status of the school to co-educational.

My Department will continue with this engagement as part of the assessment process. A decision is expected to be conveyed to the school authority shortly.

Departmental Circulars

Ceisteanna (206)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

206. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of circulars to educational institutions relating to workplace relations specifically disciplinary proceedings and access to sick leave; if circulars on such issues are binding regulations or suggested guidelines; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7802/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The position is that my Department issued over 80 Circulars in 2018, the status of which depends on the individual Circular.

In relation to the disciplinary procedures, Circular 0048/2018 sets out the disciplinary procedures for teachers and Principals employed by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) . The procedures were negotiated and agreed with the education partners in accordance with the Education Act and the ‘Towards 2016’ national pay agreement.

Where an ETB is dealing with performance or conduct issues in respect of a teacher, the use of Circular 0048/2018 is mandatory. The procedures set out in Circular 0048/2018 may be commenced or ceased at different stages by the employer depending on the circumstances of the individual case concerned.

The provisions relating to access to Sick Leave are governed by The Public Service Management (Sick Leave) Regulations 2014 and the Sick Leave Schemes as currently detailed in my Department publications.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (207)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

207. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the pay issues affecting substitute teachers since the introduction of PAYE modernisation on 1 January 2019; when these issues will be resolved in order that substitute teachers will not be taxed at the emergency tax rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7813/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Revenue Commissioners introduced real time PAYE (PAYE modernisation) which went live on the 1st January 2019. This was the biggest change to the PAYE system since the 1960s.

From 1 January 2019 employers are required to report their employees’ pay and statutory deductions to Revenue for each payroll issue.

The salary issue relates to the taxation of the substitute staff who were paid in the first payroll of 2019 and in the case of post primary substitute teachers in the second payroll.

In these payrolls , in which the new system was applied for the first time the payroll files that transferred to Revenue included an end date for substitute staff. This informed Revenue that these staff would not be paid under this employer number in the future.

This notification caused Revenue to immediately reduce the tax credits and cut off points to zero for this cohort of staff which meant that when they were next paid, there were no tax credits available to be applied to the salary.

This has meant that some substitute staff paid on the payrolls of the 3rd, 10th and 17th January and who have continued to be employed since have been assigned week 1 / cumulative zero credits or emergency tax.

The payroll software has been amended to prevent an end date transferring to Revenue for future payments which means substitute staff paid on payrolls after the 17th January do not have problems with tax credits.

However this software amendment did not correct the issues that arose for the staff who were paid already.

My Department has been working closely with Revenue to implement a solution to this problem.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that a solution was applied for some staff in the post primary teacher payroll that issued 14th February. In that regard, a total of 2,450 new Revenue Payroll Notifications were loaded to the post primary teachers’ payroll of 14th February. The payroll generated refunds for 69 substitute teachers. Further RPNs for post primary teachers will be processed in the payroll of 28th February and refunds of tax will issue where due. The exact number will not be known until the payroll is fully processed.

Revenue has forwarded 4,728 RPNs to be applied to the primary teacher and non-teaching staff payrolls for payment on the 21st February. It is expected that 533 refunds will be issued to primary substitute staff and 177 refunds to substitute non teaching staff on the 21st February.

My Department will continue to assign RPNs notified by Revenue to teaching and non-teaching staff on an ongoing basis and is endeavouring to ensure that every payee has the correct RPNs) applied to them.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (208)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

208. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the projects which have been delayed as a result of cost overruns at the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7790/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

No Education projects will be delayed as a result of the Department's contribution to the National Children's Hospital. The Department of Education and Skills has agreed to pay, in 2019, €10m of an existing €17m commitment to higher education facilities in the National Children’s Hospital. This funding will come from within the existing overall amount allocated to the higher education capital subhead. The higher education facilities at the hospital will facilitate specialist education and training in paediatric medicine, nursing and other healthcare professions.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (209)

Jackie Cahill

Ceist:

209. Deputy Jackie Cahill asked the Minister for Education and Skills if SOLAS is providing an apprenticeship for motorcycle mechanics; if not, if he will request SOLAS to bring forward proposals to do so; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7823/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Apprenticeship Council was established in 2014 to oversee the expansion of apprenticeship system in Ireland into new sectors of the economy. To date, twenty new consortia-led apprenticeship programmes have been developed in a variety of sectors ranging from financial services and ICT to hospitality and biopharma. Further new apprenticeships are due to get underway in 2019 in various sectors including construction, engineering, horticulture and agriculture.

Since its establishment the Council has had two open calls for proposals, one in 2015 and the most recent one in 2017. During these calls, proposals to develop new apprenticeships were submitted by consortia, made up of industry experts and education and training providers, who have identified skill areas where the apprenticeship model best serves their education and training needs.

To date, there has been no such proposal brought forward for a motorcycle mechanic apprenticeship.

Teacher Training Provision

Ceisteanna (210, 211)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

210. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reinstate the funding of trainee teachers' travel and living costs associated with a mandatory requirement to spend a number of weeks in An Gaeltacht as part of their training; if he has considered setting up a full or part granting scheme for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7825/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Paul Kehoe

Ceist:

211. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to reintroduce a subsidy (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7826/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 210 and 211 together.

There is no provision currently in my Department's budget for the Gaeltacht placement grant or an element thereof in 2019.

However, to assist with the costs of the Gaeltacht placement, students who are in receipt of a student grant which includes a 100% fee grant, or who would have qualified for a full fee grant but for the Free Fees Scheme, can apply for funding towards travel and accommodation costs under the field trip element of a fee grant, subject to the normal terms and conditions of the student grant scheme. Apart from this, in circumstances of particular need, students may apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. Information in relation to this fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended.

Schools Building Projects Administration

Ceisteanna (212)

Michael Harty

Ceist:

212. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an assessment of the shortage of places in secondary schools (details supplied) will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7827/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to plan for school provision and analyse the relevant demographic data, the Department divides the country into 314 school planning areas and uses Geographical Information System, using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the country will arise. With this information, the Department carries out nationwide demographic exercises to determine where additional school accommodation is needed at primary and post-primary level.

Where demographic data indicates that additional provision is required, the delivery of such additional provision is dependent on the particular circumstances of each case and may, depending on the circumstances, be provided through either one, or a combination of, the following.

- Utilising existing unused capacity within a school or schools,

- Extending the capacity of a school or schools,

- Provision of a new school or schools.

As the Deputy may be aware, the Government announced for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next for years (2019-2022). This announcement follows nationwide demographic exercises carried out by the Department into the future need for primary and post-primary schools across the country and the 4-year horizon will enable increased lead-in times for the planning and delivery of the necessary infrastructure.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future. While the announcement did not include the Ennis or Scariff school planning areas, the requirement for new schools or additional places will be kept under on-going review.

Supervision and Substitution Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (213)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

213. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of uncovered absences by a qualified substitute teacher in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7832/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Substitute teachers are employed by the managerial authorities of schools and paid salary by my Department.

The number of substitutable days in primary schools where no substitution cover was claimed in the 2017/18 school year was 92,299. The number in post primary schools excluding ETBs was 25,608. This information has been extracted from the Online Claims System (OLCS). The Online Claims System (OLCS) is the system designed to enable schools to record all absences (substitutable and non-substitutable) for all Staff Members paid directly on the Departments payroll and to make claims for substitution. The information in relation to the 2018/19 school year is not available.

Some of the reasons as to why there is no substitute claim recorded by the managerial authority of the school are as follows:

Professional Teacher Development - In some cases the schools were closed as teachers attended in service training for the new primary curriculum. These absences are recorded as professional teacher development and as such is normally a substitutable absence but if the school is closed for the training then no substitute is employed.

Force Majeure/Illness in Family - The first day of this leave absence is not substitutable.

Self-Certified (Uncertified) Sick Leave - This leave is no longer substitutable except in smaller primary schools for multiple absences on the same day. This does not apply at post-primary level as all self certified sick leave absences are non-substitutable.

Job–Sharing - If a teacher is job-sharing and goes on leave for e.g. Maternity Leave, Sick Leave their leave is entered in one block and there will only be a substitute recorded for that teacher for one week out of every two as their job-sharing partner is working the other week.

Visiting Teachers - These teachers must have their leave recorded on OLCS but due to the nature of their posts they may not always be replaced by a substitute.

Teachers with Regular part-time Contracts of less than 25 hour e.g. Teacher absent on maternity/sick leave etc. with a contract of 10 hours per week. The leave is entered for the total absence but less than 5 days per week are substitutable, leaving the other days of the week displaying as no substitute used.

Principal Release – A number of these days are covered by the Primary Principals release supply panel. Currently there are a number of temporary teachers employed who cover these absences across a number of schools. These absences are recorded but no substitute is required.

Supervision and Substitution - Some substitutable absences in post-primary schools are covered by teachers whom have signed up for the Supervision and Substitution Scheme which means that there will not be a claim submitted for some absences.

Emergency Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (214)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

214. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an application for emergency works will be considered for a school (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7858/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is currently not in receipt of any application for emergency works funding from this school. The Emergency works application form and circular are both available on the Department's website.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (215)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

215. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 364 of 6 November 2018, if progress has been made on providing a person (details supplied) with school transport under the school transport scheme. [7860/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

Bus Éireann has advised that they are currently finalising transport arrangements for the child in question and are liaising directly with the family.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (216)

John Lahart

Ceist:

216. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) who is entitled to free transport will continue to receive transport when they progress to second level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7863/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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

There are currently over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres annually.

In general, children with special educational needs are eligible for school transport if they are attending the nearest school that is resourced to meet their special educational needs. Eligibility is determined following consultation with the National Council for Special Education, through its network of Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENO).

A new transport application form is required when a child moves from a primary to a post primary school; children who are eligible for school transport travel free under the terms of the scheme.

In this regard, the family in question should liaise with the relevant SENO if they wish to apply for transport to the school referred to by the Deputy.

Supervision and Substitution Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (217)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

217. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary and secondary substitute teachers on the roster in 2018; the number of those required for cover in 2018; the average number of days covered in 2018 by substitute teachers by primary and secondary level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7883/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Substitute teachers are employed by the managerial authorities of the schools. My Department acts as Paymaster for contracted and substitute staff to over 4,000 schools.

In 2018, my Department paid 13,796 substitutes who were employed in primary schools and 10,346 substitutes employed in post-primary schools (excluding ETB schools).

In the 2017/2018 school year the average number of days claimed by substitute teachers in primary schools was 46. In the case of post-primary schools (excluding ETBs) the average claimed was 22. This average was determined by reference to the number of substitutes employed in 2018.

Schools Building Projects Status

Question No. 219 answered with Question No. 203.

Ceisteanna (218)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

218. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a project to rebuild a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7890/19]

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 to construct a new school building.

Given the need to meet demographic growth, the delivery of new schools, together with extension projects identified by my Department’s 6 year construction programme to meet future demand, will remain the focus of my Department’s budget for the coming years.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that grant approval issued to the school in early 2018 for the provision of a new mainstream classroom to cater for increased staffing levels.

Question No. 219 answered with Question No. 203.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (220, 221)

James Browne

Ceist:

220. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide teachers with resources and training to administer individual education planning for children with Down's syndrome; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7914/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

James Browne

Ceist:

221. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to extend the July provision programme which provides for funding for children with Down's syndrome to benefit from an extended school year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7915/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 220 and 221 together.

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

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 new model for allocating special education teachers to schools was introduced in 2017. Under this model, provision is made within the total allocation of special education teachers to schools for planning and co-ordination activities to ensure the most effective use of the special educational needs hours provided to schools, for children with special educational needs.

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 and the Inspectorate 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.