Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (222)

James Browne

Ceist:

222. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a schedule of accommodation will be provided to a school (details supplied) further to his meeting with the authorities of the school in October 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7919/19]

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, who has agreed to deliver the project, when the process has been completed.

Autism Support Services

Ceisteanna (223)

Denise Mitchell

Ceist:

223. Deputy Denise Mitchell asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the difficulties facing parents of children with special needs in securing appropriate school places in autism spectrum disorder, ASD, special classes for their children in the Dublin 13 area; the steps he will take to ensure children (details supplied) will secure places in a local ASD class for the beginning of the September 2019 school year; his plans to increase the number of ASD special classes in the area; and the options available to the children if they cannot secure places in an ASD class in the area. [7932/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department's policy is to provide for the inclusive education of children with special educational needs, including Autism (ASD), in mainstream school settings, unless such a placement would not be in the best interests of the child concerned, or the children with whom they will be educated.

The greater proportion of children with Autism attend mainstream classes, but some require the environment of a special class or special school. This decision is based on a recommendation contained within a professional assessment and in consultation with the NCSE.

The NCSE has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs including Autism, in consultation with the relevant education partners and the Health Service Executive (HSE). This includes the establishment of special class and special school placements in various geographical areas where there is an identified need.

The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter, in the first instance, for the parents of the child and the Board of Management of a school.

Accordingly, the NCSE advises parents, to seek to enrol their child, by applying in writing, to the school/s of their choice as early as possible. Where parents have been unsuccessful in enrolling their child in a school, they should update their local SENO to inform the planning process.

Since 2011, the NCSE has increased the number of special classes from 548 in 2011 to 1,459 across the country now, of which 1,196 are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) special classes.

There are 37 special schools and 237 special classes attached to mainstream schools in Co. Dublin. The number of ASD special classes in Co. Dublin have increased from 66 in 2011/2012 to 197 in 2018/2019. Details of all special classes for children with special educational needs are available on www.ncse.ie.

From time to time, the NCSE identifies local areas where additional special class provision is required. In those circumstances, SENOs work with the schools and families concerned to resolve the issues involved.

The Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 will assist in addressing this issue where the NCSE is of the opinion that there is insufficient education provision for children with special educational needs in an area.

Section 8 of the Act, which commenced on the 3rd of December 2018, provides the Minister with a power, after a process of consultation with the NCSE, the board of management and the patron of the school, to compel a school to make additional provision for the education of children with special educational needs.

As the Deputy's question relates to particular children I have arranged for the question to be forwarded to the NCSE for their attention and direct reply.

Free Education Scheme

Ceisteanna (224)

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

224. Deputy Jan O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost in a full year if the book grant of €11 per pupil in primary schools was increased to €14 per pupil and from €24 to €30 per pupil in post-primary schools under the book grant scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7941/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The estimated full year cost of increasing the book grant by €3 per pupil at primary level and €6 per pupil at post-primary schools is circa €3.8m.

The Department provides a book grant to all recognised primary and post primary schools within the Free Education Scheme in order to provide assistance for books including Book Rental Schemes.

Under this scheme, the Department provided funding of €16.7 million in 2018 to all of these schools. It is a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school to decide on its own policy in relation to the use of this funding in the school but they are expected to adopt a cost-conscious approach to the selection of books for use in their classes. The current arrangement relies on the local knowledge of the school in order to ensure a fair allocation of funds to those most in need. The arrangements in relation to this scheme are set out in Circular 0046/2013 which is published on the Department's website at http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0046_2013.pdf.

Home Tuition Scheme

Ceisteanna (225)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

225. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an appeal regarding home tuition hours for persons (details supplied) will be granted. [7949/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The aim of the Home Tuition Scheme is to provide a compensatory educational service for children who, for a number of reasons such as chronic illness, are unable to attend school. The scheme also provides a compensatory educational service for children with special educational needs seeking an educational placement. Provision is also made for early educational intervention for children with autism.

Home Tuition Grant allocations to siblings generally reflect the school grouping principle. This is where one teacher is allocated to a class of six pupils at the appropriate educational level, primary or post primary. Within State-funded classes, differentiated needs are accommodated through a differentiated approach in teaching.

It is expected that Home Tutors should have the capacity to develop and deliver tuition in an environment which includes other children.

However, the Department recognises that it may be difficult to cater for the significant differentiated educational needs of some siblings through a differentiated approach in tuition at home.

To provide for this, my Department grants siblings over 3 years of age a combined allocation of 30 hours per week which includes a 50% increase on the standard home tuition allocation.

My Department understands that certain circumstances of an exceptional nature may arise which justify separate allocations to be made to siblings.

Applications in this regard will require supporting documentation including professional reports from a psychologist detailing the existing arrangements currently in place for the respective children and providing sound reasons why the needs of both children can only be met if they are separated and tutored individually.

An application for separate allocations has been received from the parents of the children referred to by the Deputy, which is currently under consideration in my Department.

School Curriculum

Ceisteanna (226)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

226. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Education and Skills the electronic music equipment recognised as musical instruments in the school curriculum to be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7990/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Regarding the recognition of electronic music equipment as musical instruments, while electronic instruments are referenced, no electronic music equipment is specified in any syllabus documentation.

The primary school curriculum incorporates the subject’s visual arts, music and drama within the curriculum area of arts education. In the primary school music curriculum, enabling pupils to record compositions on electronic media is referenced in all strands of the curriculum from infants up to sixth class. The music curriculum for 3rd and 4th classes confirms that pupils should be enabled to select different kinds of sounds, including electronic instruments. For 5th and 6th classes the curriculum advises “creativity and uniqueness are given a means of self-expression through the provision of opportunities to experiment and gain control of a range of musical materials. These include manufactured instruments and home-made percussion and melodic instruments as well as electronic media.”

In relation to the Junior Cycle specification 2018, there are no references to specific instruments electronic or otherwise. There is no distinction made between acoustic and electronic in the Junior Cycle specification for Music, allowing for the inclusion and exploration of a variety of instruments by students.

In the Leaving Certificate syllabus no specific electronic musical instruments are named, but nor is there an exhaustive list of recognised acoustic instruments. Electronic musical instruments are referenced generally, as synthesisers, MIDI interfaces and computerised music systems.

For the purposes of assessment at Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate Music, students can perform as a soloist or as a group on any instrument or combination of instruments, and this can be acoustic or digital/electronic. The State Examinations Commission issue guidelines on this every year, to ensure that there is clarity on what is allowed and not allowed in the practical examination. Here is an example of their guidelines from 2018: https://www.examinations.ie/schools/EN-1011-11962080.pdf.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (227)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

227. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 245 of 5 February 2019, the status of the requirement for a new primary school and secondary school in Gorey, County Wexford; and if the project is under examination and can proceed during the four-year period 2019 to 2022. [8020/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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 may be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022). 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.

In addition to the new schools announced, there will be a need for further school accommodation in other areas in the future. Based on the current analysis, this need can be addressed through either planned capacity increases in existing schools or additional accommodation or extensions to existing schools.

While the announcement did not include a new primary or post-primary school in the Gorey school planning area, the requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular will have regard for the increased rollout of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.

It is open to an individual school to apply for accommodation under the additional accommodation scheme if the school does not have sufficient capacity to meet school places.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (228)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

228. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the lack of progress on the planning application to Dublin City Council for a permanent school (details supplied) at a location; the steps he is taking to address these needs; the timeline for the delivery of further prefabs and the permanent school building; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8053/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Planning permission for the permanent accommodation for this school was lodged in January 2019. Tender documentation for the permanent build is currently being developed pending the receipt of planning permission.

With regard to the temporary accommodation required on the schools current temporary site for this September, my Department expects to lodge a Planning Application with Dublin City Council not later than early March.

School Management

Ceisteanna (229)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

229. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he is taking to ban the use of mobile phones in primary and post-primary schools; his views on whether boards of management are vulnerable to allegations of facilitating cyberbullying if there are not clear procedures in place in each school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8117/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Decisions on the use of smart phones and other such devices in schools are taken at local level by the Board of Management of a school, who under the provisions of the Education Act, 1998 have responsibility for the direct governance of a school.

My Department recognises the requirement to safeguard children from the negative impact of using digital devices but consider that it is also very important to recognise the value of digital technology to enhance teaching and learning for all students. In that context, schools are best placed to identify and put in place appropriate policies in the context of their own particular situation, through consultation with their local school community.

Circular 0038/2018, which issued to all schools, early last year, requires schools to consult with teachers, student and parents in the development of policy around the use of smart phones and personal devices in school. This consultation requirement will be underpinned in law once the Parents and Students Charter is enacted. This bottom-up approach will ensure all parents, teachers and school communities are satisfied with the smart phone policy in place in their school. It will also mean that parents will be able to adopt a complementary approach at home to that which is in place in their child's school, if they wish to do so. The intention is to promote a shared approach regarding the appropriate and beneficial use of digital technologies.

Parents are the primary educators of their children, and parents will prioritise their child’s best interests and well-being. In that context, the input of parents to developing school policies as articulated in the draft Education (Parent & Student Charter) Bill 2018, which notes and mandates that role, is a priority of this Department.

My Department has put in place a range of supports for schools, teachers, pupils and parents to ensure development of appropriate policies and to raise awareness around the appropriate use of digital technology including the publication of the circular referred to requiring consultation on the issue of the use of digital devices in schools.

Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 all schools are required to have in place a code of behaviour. In accordance with the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000 and the guidelines issued by the NEWB, all schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy within the framework of their overall code of behaviour, to include cyber-bullying.

Access to, ownership and usage of digital devices, and the online safety of children is a matter relevant to many Government Departments, as well as parents and wider society.

The Government’s Online Safety Hub, a single online access point www.gov.ie/besafeonline provides links to a wide range of online safety with specific resources and information for parents, teachers, children and young people from the six key Government Departments responsible for the implementation of the Government's Action Plan on Online Safety.

Third Level Fees

Ceisteanna (230)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

230. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason the criterion of being ordinarily resident and not habitually resident applies to applicants to third level education in order to be entitled to EU fees; if he will consider revising this requirement; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8123/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In order to qualify for funding towards tuition fees, students must be first-time undergraduates, hold inter alia EU/EEA/Swiss nationality in their own right, and have been ordinarily resident in an EU/EEA/Swiss state for at least three of the five years preceding their entry to an approved third level course. This eligibility requirement is important in order to ensure that public funding is targeted in the first instance at students that have a legitimate connection with Ireland and with the Irish education system.

Where students do not qualify for free fees funding they must pay the appropriate fee - either EU or Non-EU, as determined by each higher education institution. These institutions are autonomous bodies and the level of fee payable by students who do not meet the requirements of the free fees scheme is a matter for the relevant institution to determine.

Tax relief is available on fees paid and students can apply to the Student Assistant Fund for financial support if needed.

There are currently no plans within my Department to amend the qualifying criteria of the free fees schemes.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (231)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

231. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills when a new school build (details supplied) will commence; the expected date of completion; the position of the build in the process; the steps that remain to be concluded; the interim arrangements in place for the September 2019-20 intake; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8161/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, the project to which she refers has been devolved for delivery to Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB).

The pre-qualification process for the project has recently been completed by KWETB. While approval has been given for KWETB to proceed to issue tender documents to the short-listed contractors, the Design Team is currently addressing some design issues with the project. In that context, it is now expected that tender documents for the project will issue in the second quarter of 2019. Once the tender process has been completed, construction can be expected to begin on site.

At this point, it is not possible to provide an exact and accurate timeline either for completion of the tender process or for completion of any later stages of the project. However, I can say that the project remains on schedule to be completed before September 2021.

I can assure the Deputy that arrangements to provide a temporary accommodation solution will be put in place to address the increased enrolment issues pending completion of the project.

School Enrolments

Ceisteanna (232)

Marc MacSharry

Ceist:

232. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the case of a child (details supplied) in County Leitrim will be reviewed; his views on whether this is unacceptable; if the case will be prioritised with a place made available to them; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8162/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The selection and enrolment of pupils is the responsibility of the management authorities in each individual school. As schools may not have a place for every applicant, a selection process may be necessary. This selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants.

Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to disclose its enrolment policy and to ensure that as regards that policy the principles of equality and the right of parents to send their children to a school of the parent’s choice are respected.

Under Section 29 of the Education Act, 1998 where a school board of management make a decision to refuse enrolment, suspend a student for 20 or more days or permanently exclude a student, a parent/guardian can appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Where the appeal involves an Education and Training Board (ETB) school, the appeal must be made to the local ETB in the first instance. Further information on the Section 29 Appeals process is available on my Departments website at the following link:

https://www.education.ie/en/Parents/Services/Appeal-against-Permanent-Exclusion-Suspension-or-Refusal-to-Enrol/

In addition, the Educational Welfare Service (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency (Tusla) is the statutory body which can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school placement for their child. The EWS can be contacted at Educational Welfare Service, Child and Family Agency, Unit 19 Sandyfort Business Centre, Grealistown, Bohermore, Galway or by phone at 091-385302.

Where a child is temporarily without a school place, is without an offer of a school place and is actively seeking a school placement in a recognised school my Department may approve a grant to engage a suitably qualified tutor to provide up to 9 hours home tuition per week for that child.

This home tuition grant scheme is operated by my Department with the assistance of the Educational Welfare Service (EWS) and in order for an application for a home tuition grant to be considered by my Department the local Educational Welfare Officer (EWO), must first confirm that the child’s circumstances meet the criteria of the scheme.

My Department has been in contact with the Educational Welfare Service in relation to the child referred to by the Deputy to ensure that the matter is followed up at local level with the family involved.

School Transport Applications

Ceisteanna (233)

John Lahart

Ceist:

233. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a school bus transport application by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8165/19]

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.

Under the terms of my Department's School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs, children are eligible for transport where they are attending the nearest recognised school that is resourced to meet their special educational needs.

Special Schools funded by my Department are intended to cater for children and young persons with special educational needs from 4 years until the end of the school year in which they reach their 18th year and these children may apply for school transport in accordance with the terms of the above scheme.

The Department of Health/Health Service Executive assumes direct responsibility for young adults with special educational needs who are over 18 years.

The person referred to by the Deputy is 19 years old and is therefore not eligible for school transport under the terms of the above scheme. Bus Éireann has also advised that no application for school transport has been received.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (234)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

234. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide additional classroom accommodation for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to the fact that an application is lodged with his Department and is awaiting approval; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8166/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department is in receipt of an application, for additional accommodation, from the school in question.

As part of the assessment process, officials from my Department have been in contact with the school authority regarding additional information which has now been provided. The application is currently under assessment and it is envisaged that a decision will be conveyed to the school authority shortly.

Physical Education Facilities

Ceisteanna (235)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

235. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide a physical education hall for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to an application lodged with his Department for the project in conjunction with the broader community; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8167/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that under the Project Ireland 2040 National Development Plan (NDP), increased funding has been provided for the school sector capital investment programme. This funding allows for a continued focus on the provision of a new permanent school places to keep pace with demographic demand and also provides for an additional focus on the refurbishment of existing school buildings to include the building and modernisation of PE facilities in post-primary schools.

The immediate priority of my Department is providing 20,000 new and replacement school places each year, to ensure that every child has a school place. The government will focus in the medium term on the provision of PE facilities in schools.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (236)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

236. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide additional accommodation for a school (details supplied); if his attention has been drawn to whether an application for replacement prefabricated accommodation was refused and to the fact that the school is awaiting approval for required accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8168/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has no record of receiving a recent application, for capital funding, at the school in question.

It is open to schools' to apply under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme (ASA) for additional accommodation for the provision of essential classroom accommodation to meet demographic need and where additional appointments are being made.

The ASA application form may be accessed on my Department's website, www.education.ie.

Summer Works Scheme Applications

Ceisteanna (237)

Pat the Cope Gallagher

Ceist:

237. Deputy Pat The Cope Gallagher asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of an application by a school (details supplied) for a replacement roof at the school; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a summer works application was approved in 2014 but a similar application was refused recently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8169/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question applied for the partial replacement of a roof under the current Summer Works Scheme however the school authority prioritised electrical works which received funding.

It is open to the school to apply for the roof works under the next Summer Works Scheme which will open for applications in 2019 for projects to be delivered from summer 2020.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (238)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

238. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Topical Issue matter No. 1 of 12 February 2019, if the Minister of State with special responsibility for higher education stated a new pre-qualification process will have to commence for the refurbishment and extension of a school (details supplied); the timescale for each stage of the process; and the planned completion date. [8170/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, the project to which they refer has been devolved for delivery to the local Education & Training Board (DDLETB). That remains the case.

My Department acknowledges that the delivery of this project has taken longer than originally envisaged. Most recently, a number of issues, primarily of a legal nature, have arisen in respect of the process for the pre-qualification of contractors as referred to by the Deputy. I can inform the Deputy that, having considered these issues and liaised with my officials in that respect, DDLETB is now proceeding with a revised pre-qualification process.

Once this prequalification process is completed, the project will proceed to tender stage.

State Examinations Appeals

Ceisteanna (239)

Willie O'Dea

Ceist:

239. Deputy Willie O'Dea asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the case of a person (details supplied) as an example of delays in rechecking leaving certificate examination results; the steps he is taking in regard to accelerating the rechecking process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8171/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Universities and Institutes of Technology in Ireland are statutorily independent institutions. Admission is a matter for each individual institution and my Department does not have the authority to intervene in the admissions process.

I understand that the practice in a number of Higher Education Institutions in relation to candidates with successful Leaving Certificate appeals is to consider each on a case-by-case basis, with consideration given to the availability of a place on a relevant course in the current academic year and also the best interests of the student.

Where a student becomes eligible for a particular course arising from a successful appeal, and a place is not available in the current year or it is considered not in the student's best interest to join the course during the current year, the student is entitled to a deferred place for the following academic year. The holding of an offer of a place, or a deferred place is contingent on a student engaging with an institution.

My Department has been in contact with the Institution in question (LIT) and have confirmed that the policy at LIT is as above; contingent upon the student officially deferring the place and then reapplying in the normal way in order to obtain their place without regard to the points required that year.

My Department has ascertained that the student in question was indeed successful in gaining an offer on her chosen course as a result of a Leaving Certificate recheck. The admissions office of LIT wrote to her on 11 October 2018 advising her to either accept the offer by 17 October, or to revert to the admissions office if she wished to defer. The student did not accept her place with CAO or request a deferral of her place.

The admissions office has further advised that the student in question has re-applied to the CAO for the coming academic year however, she has not re-applied for the same course. Therefore, she will be on the waiting lists for her chosen courses and will have to meet the cut-off points and entry requirements to be issued with an offer in August 2019.

With regard to the steps being taken in relation to the accelerating the recheck process, on 1 November, 2018 I announced changes agreed regarding the Leaving Certificate examination appeals process. In 2019, the Central Applications Office (CAO) will issue Round One offers to this year’s CAO applicants on Thursday, 15 August 2019, 4 days ahead of previous years. The accelerated offer schedule will facilitate improvements to the State Examinations Commission (SEC) appeals schedule, and will result in the expected release of Leaving Certificate Appeal results in the week beginning 16 September 2019. This is three weeks earlier than prior years.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (240)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

240. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a special needs assistant will be provided for a child (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8173/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible 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 my 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.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE 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.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply. I do not have a role in making determinations in individual cases.

Autism Support Services

Ceisteanna (241)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

241. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the additional supports available to support a person with special needs (details supplied). [8191/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

It is the policy of this Department that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

The greater proportion of children with ASD attend mainstream class, where they may access additional supports if required.

Some students with ASD, although academically able to access the curriculum in mainstream, may find it too difficult to manage full-time placement there and placement in an ASD special class should be considered.

Special school placements are provided for other students with ASD and very complex special needs who wouldn’t manage in a mainstream school even for part of the week. Enrolment of a child in a special school is based on a professional assessment in consultation with the National Council for Special Education (NCSE).

My Department’s policy focuses on ensuring that all students with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to meeting their needs and abilities.

The range of supports and services which are made available to support students with autism in schools include additional special educational support teaching, Special Needs Assistants support, funding for the purchase of specialised equipment, services of the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS), enhanced levels of capitation in Special schools and Special Classes and additional teacher training.

Other resources which are provided to schools to support children with Autism include the following:

- Assistive technology.

- Professional development for teachers.

- Access to the Special School transport scheme.

- Access to special equipment and furniture where required.

- Enhanced capitation grant.

- Adapted school buildings.

- Access to the extended school year scheme. (July Provision)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports as required.

As the question raised by the Deputy relates to an individual child, I have arranged for this question to be forwarded to the NCSE for direct reply to the Deputy.

Schools Building Projects Data

Ceisteanna (242)

John Deasy

Ceist:

242. Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the approved primary and post-primary school capital projects at various stages of construction and planning and design in Waterford city and county; the estimated combined cost of these projects; and the number of other applications received by the planning and building unit from County Waterford at pre-approval stage. [8192/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Information in relation to the current status of all major school building and additional accommodation projects including projects in County Waterford is available on my Department's web-site and this information is updated on a regular basis.

Information in relation to the combined cost of the approved projects is not available as items such as site conditions, planning conditions etc. will impact on costs and these will not become know until each project receives planning. There are currently 3 additional accommodation applications to be assessed.