Schools Building Projects Applications

Ceisteanna (110)

Mary Butler

Ceist:

110. Deputy Mary Butler asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an application for funding by a school (details supplied) will be determined; the status of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22639/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that funding has been approved for the provision of an additional mainstream classroom and en-suite toilets at the school to which she refers. A letter has issued to the school authority in that respect.

The project has been devolved for delivery to the school authority so it is now a matter for the Board of Management to advance the project.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (111)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

111. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a special needs assistant for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22641/19]

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.

Schools Facilities

Ceisteanna (112)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

112. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an initiative will be taken to encourage schools to allow early childcare service provision in school buildings; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22643/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that following consultation with relevant school authorities, Guidelines on the use of School Buildings outside of School Hours were published by my Department in October 2017. These guidelines can be viewed on my Department's website at this link: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/guidelines-on-the-use-of-school-buildings-outside-of-school-hours.pdf

The purpose of these guidelines is to provide guidance for schools in relation to the use of school buildings outside of school hours and guidance for those schools who are considering putting such arrangements in place.

In general, the management of school premises at local level is a matter for the relevant school authorities, and if a community group is interested in using school facilities contact should be made with the school in the first instance.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (113)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

113. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of abolishing apprenticeship fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22662/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

An Annual Student Contribution (ASC) is levied on all students attending Institutes of Technology (IoTs). Previously this ASC was paid by FÁS/SOLAS with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS ceased making payments to IoTs and apprentices pay the full pro rata ASC.

The amount charged to apprentices is calculated on a pro rata basis of the time which they spend in IoTs during the academic year. For craft apprenticeships, this cost would typically be one third of the €3,000 ASC paid by students attending for the full academic year and so amounts to approximately €1,000 per apprentice per period spent in the IoT. In the case of the new consortia led apprenticeships the contribution varies for each programme as their off-the-job training has a more flexible structure. In cases where training is delivered in an Education and Training Board there is no contribution made by the apprentice.

Based on projected apprenticeship provision in higher education institutions, apprentices or their employers will make up to €6.6 million in ASCs in 2019. If the arrangement in place prior to Budget 2014 arrangement were to be reinstated, where the apprentices paid the proportion of the ASC deemed to relate to examination fees, the total cost of not charging the ASC to the State would be €4.8 million in a full year.

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (114)

Maurice Quinlivan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of providing an additional 1,000 apprenticeship places; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22663/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The total estimated cost per apprentice in craft apprenticeships is €6,900. There were 904 apprencties registered on the new consortia led apprenticeships at the end of 2018, which is not sufficient as yet to derive a reliable average cost, however this will be kept under review as greater numbers come on stream.

Consequently, the estimated cost of providing an additional one thousand apprenticeship places is €6.9 million. It should be noted that there are also some standing costs associated with running training centres and other institutions that have not been apportioned between apprenticeship and other activity and are not included in this figure.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (115)

Catherine Murphy

Ceist:

115. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the stage each of the education sites are at in Celbridge, County Kildare, for the provision of new schools; the timeframe for the delivery of those schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware, agreement in principle has been reached with a landowner for the acquisition of a site at Donaghcumper, Celbridge. This site is proposed to facilitate the permanent accomodation needs of St. Patrick's National School, Celbridge Community School and St. Raphael's Special School on a campus type arrangement. Work is progressing and is ongoing in respect of technical matters on the acquisition.

It is a priority for my Department to commence the architectural planning process for this site at the earliest possible stage. For the time being, given the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions in general, I am unable to elaborate further.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (116)

Seán Sherlock

Ceist:

116. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Education and Skills when provision will be made for an extension to a school (details supplied). [22709/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department is in receipt of an application for capital funding, for additional accommodation, at the school referred to by the Deputy. Officials from my Department have been liaising with the school authority in this regard and additional information has been received.

As soon as the assessment process has been completed the decision will be relayed to the school authority directly.

Schools Building Projects

Ceisteanna (117)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

117. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the works to provide a new school building for a school (details supplied) in addition to the associated refurbishment works will commence as a matter of urgent priority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22739/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in My Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

This project is one of the school building projects on my Department’s ADAPT 2 Programme. My Department is currently in the process of procuring a Project Manager for the ADAPT 2 Programme, which contains 16 school building projects.

The appointment of a Design Team – (Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Civil & Structural Engineer, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer and Project Supervisor for the Design Process) for the school in question will commence shortly.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (118)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

118. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills when phase 2 of a school building project (details supplied) will begin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22765/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school referred to by the Deputy will be part of a shared campus. The major building project will consist of a Phase 2 extension at secondary level and a new school building for the Primary School. The building project will deliver the Post Primary building providing an area of 5,226m² new build and 2,237m² refurbishment.

In December 2018, the project completed Stage 2a (Developed Design Stage) and was authorised to proceed to Stage 2b - Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents.

Planning permission for this particular project was sought earlier than usual in the architectural planning process, during Stage 2(a) as a means to identify any potential issues which might arise.

Upon receipt and review of the stage 2(b) submission the project will then be authorised to commence the pre-qualification of contractors process. Pre-qualification normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks to complete.

When pre-qualification is complete, the project will then be progressed to tender stage. A tender stage normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (119)

Peadar Tóibín

Ceist:

119. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the building of a school (details supplied) will begin in Navan, County Meath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22766/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school referred to by the Deputy will be part of a shared campus. The building project will deliver a new Post Primary school and the new special school building will provide an area of 3,746sqm with 11 classrooms and associated ancillary accommodation to cater for pupils with a range of learning disabilities.

In December 2018, the project completed Stage 2(a) - Developed Design Stage, and was subsequently authorised to proceed to Stage 2(b) - Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents.

Planning permission for this particular project was sought earlier than usual in the architectural planning process, during Stage 2(a) as a means to identify any potential issues which might arise.

Upon receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) submission the project will then be authorised to commence the pre-qualification of contractors process. Pre-qualification normally takes between 8 and 12 weeks to complete.

When pre-qualification is complete, the project will then be progressed to tender stage. A tender stage normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete.

Special Educational Needs

Ceisteanna (120)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

120. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the yearly process and timeline for setting and agreeing the national allocation of special needs assistants, SNAs; the person or body who leads the process; and the reason for the delay and the change of date for the announcement of the allocation of SNAs for 2019-2020. [22799/19]

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.

Each year the NCSE publish guidelines for schools setting out the key dates for the SNA allocations process and these are available on the NCSE website, www.ncse.ie .

I gave a commitment that the SNA allocations would be published before the end of May to provide certainty, at the earliest opportunity, for schools, SNAs and parents in relation to the posts that will be available for the coming school year.

I was very pleased to fulfill this commitment yesterday when I announced that almost 800 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the next school year, with up to 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education published the allocations for the coming school year yesterday and they are available on their website, www.ncse.ie.

Special Educational Needs

Ceisteanna (121)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

121. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the criteria for a child with additional needs to access a special needs assistant, SNA, in cases in which there are varying levels of need among children in one or various classrooms in one school; the method used to decide the way in which the time of a SNA is divided among several children; the process by which it is decided in a school in which a SNA is employed; and the minimum and maximum ratio of SNAs to children permitted per school. [22800/19]

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.

SNAs should be deployed by schools in a manner which best meets the care support requirements of the children enrolled in the school for whom SNA support has been allocated. It is a matter for schools to allocate the support as required, and on the basis of individual need, which allows schools flexibility in how the SNA support is utilised.

Special Educational Needs Staff

Ceisteanna (122)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

122. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the process for special needs assistants, SNAs, who seek further employment if they are made redundant from a previous job or if their contract has ceased; and the purpose of panels within that process. [22801/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The supplementary assignment arrangements for Special Needs Assistants (SNAs) were established on foot of proposals brought forward by the Labour Relations Commission when the Haddington Road Agreement was being agreed. These supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs continue to operate under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 - 2020 , and both unions representing SNAs, namely SIPTU and FÓRSA, have signed up to that agreement. As set out in the LRC proposals, the supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs only apply to current SNAs who are notified that they are to be made redundant. Accordingly, the purpose of these arrangements is to facilitate eligible SNAs who are being made redundant by one employer in filling SNA vacancies that may become available in another school / ETB. Once an SNA with a minimum of one year's service (service in a substitute capacity i.e. covering for maternity leave, sick leave, career breaks, job-sharing etc. does not count) is notified by his/her employer that s/he is to be made redundant then s/he shall be deemed to be a member of a supplementary assignment panel for SNAs. The detailed supplementary assignment arrangements for SNAs for the 2019/2020 school year are set out in Departmental Circular 0030/2019 which issued on 22 May 2019 and which is available on the Department's website at the following address: http://www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/cl0030_2019.pdf The operation of this panel is described and outlined in Circular 0030/2019 and it is designed to be as flexible as possible which enables all eligible SNAs, who have the requisite Panel Form 1 completed by their former employer, to apply for any SNA position that is advertised by a school or an ETB with no sectoral, diocesan or geographical limitations imposed. Every eligible SNA will remain on the panel for two years with a view to getting further employment. If they are not successful over that period of time in obtaining a further SNA position then they will be eligible for a redundancy payment. Furthermore, an SNA may opt out of this supplementary assignment panel at any point in time triggering the processing of his/her redundancy payment in line with the terms set out in the SNA redundancy scheme (DES Circular 58/06) or any revision of same that is applicable at that time. It should be noted that this does not prevent any person, including newly qualified SNAs, from applying for SNA vacancies but employers are obliged to give precedence to applicants who are members of the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel.

The Supplementary Assignment Panel arrangements are reviewed by my Department on an annual basis in conjunction with an independent Supplementary Assignment Manager, the school management bodies and the two unions representing SNA staff (FÓRSA and SIPTU).

My Department has set up a dedicated e-mail address to deal with all queries in relation to the SNA Supplementary Assignment Panel and any queries in respect of the operation of the Panel can be directed to this dedicated e-mail address:snasupplementpanel@education.gov.ie.

Schools Health and Safety

Ceisteanna (123)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

123. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the repair work at a college (details supplied) following the discovery of a safety fault in 2018; if the school is scheduled to reopen with full capacity in September 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22806/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that last October and November my Department carried out initial structural assessments into 42 schools constructed by a particular contractor. In 22 of these schools precautionary measures were implemented to enable continued safe occupation and part of the school to which the Deputy refers was closed following the identification of significant structural issues.

Following on from the initial assessments, which were based on sample opening up works, my Department initiated a second phase of detailed investigations for the schools on the 18th of January last. This next phase of the programme is focusing initially on the 22 schools that have precautionary measures in place and also at the school to which the Deputy refers, which remains partly closed.

The purpose of these investigations is to determine the type and extent of structural issues in each individual school and, from the technical information gathered by the appointed structural engineers, to design permanent remediation solutions for delivery where these are needed.

In line with the update published by my Department in January, detailed structural investigations have now been completed in all of the 22 schools with precautionary measures in place and at the school in question.

The school referred to is different from the schools with precautionary measures in place in that the nature and extent of the issues there are such that the building under investigation was required to close. The school remains operational in another building on site.

Detailed investigations have concluded in the closed building and engineers are working to design solutions. When these are known, a programme of works to remediate the building will be put in place for implementation.

When the works programme is available, the details will be first shared at meetings with the Patrons and the schools involved. Arrangements are being put in place, for such meetings with the Patrons and the School Authorities of the 22 schools, including Ardgillan which has been scheduled in June.

This is an Education and Training Board school. Pending the delivery of the remediation work, my Department will ensure, in continued consultation with the ETB, that any interim accommodations needs at the school are met. In this regard, 2 additional temporary classrooms, a woodwork room and prep area together with a disabled access toilet have been approved for September 2019.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (124)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

124. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the lack of autism spectrum disorder, ASD, units to meet the demand in north County Dublin and that many such units within the area are at full capacity; his plans to tackle these issues; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22808/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Government is spending nearly one euro in every five of the education budget on special education – about €1.9 billion in 2019. We have significantly increased the availability of special placements for children with special educational needs as well as bringing more and more children into mainstream education.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs, 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.

In deciding where to establish a special class in an area, the NCSE take account of the current and projected demand and the available school accommodation both current and planned.

The Council ensures that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

Since 2011, the number of special classes in mainstream schools has increased from 548 to 1,459 this year.

Provision in special schools has increased from 6,848 placements in 2011 to 7,872 this year.

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.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to re-configure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.

Similarly, where special schools wish to expand provision, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to accommodate additional placements.

In the case of all new schools, it is general practice to include a Special Education Needs Base (SEN Base) in the accommodation brief for new school buildings, unless local circumstances indicate that it will not be required. Typically, a two classroom SEN Base is provided in new primary schools and a two or four classroom SEN Base is provided in new post primary schools.

Notwithstanding the extent of this investment issues remain. There are some parts of the country, including north County Dublin, where increases in population and other issues have led to shortages in capacity in the school system.

The NCSE are actively engaging with education service providers in order to encourage them to address the shortage of places.

The NCSE and my Department officials hosted a briefing session for Oireachtas members in Leinster House on Tuesday last to advise members on how the NCSE engages in a planning process to open special classes annually

The NCSE and the Department will continue to encourage stakeholders to seek to open new special classes for the 2019/20 school year, including in north County Dublin.

In short, ensuring that every child has a suitable placement available to them from September is a key priority for this Government.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (125)

Seán Haughey

Ceist:

125. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Education and Skills when construction will commence for a permanent school building for a school (details supplied) to accommodate the pupils and staff; the stage the school is at in the development process; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the current lease is to expire in February 2020; the arrangements made to accommodate the school after the lease on its existing temporary premises expires; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22827/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The permanent site acquisition process for the school to which the Deputy refers is now complete.

A planning application for the permanent accommodation for the school was lodged in January 2019. A request for additional information received from the local authority was responded to on 26 April 2019 and a decision is awaited. Following receipt of planning permission the project will proceed to tender.

Provided no issues arise it is envisaged that the permanent accommodation will be completed in September 2020.

In relation to the need for the schools interim accommodation to move from its current location in February 2020 I can advise the following.

The school's interim accommodation is located on a privately owned site. The Landlord had required my Department to confirm that the school would vacate the property at the end of January 2020.

I am happy to announce that on Monday, 27 May, the Landlord contacted my Department to advise that they have carried out a review of the business plan and strategy for the site and are now agreeable to extend the Lease termination date from the 31 January 2020 to the 30 June 2020, so there is no longer a need for the school to move to alternative interim accommodation in January 2020.

I have already outlined the position in relation to the permanent accommodation for the school and the matter will be kept under review.

My Department is in regular contact with and holds monthly meetings with the school's Patron Body Educate Together in relation to this and a number of other projects under their remit and will continue to keep the school's Patron Body fully informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (126, 127, 128, 129)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

126. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of remedial works and the completion of external precautionary measures identified for a school (details supplied). [22836/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

127. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the works on a school (details supplied) will be completed in summer 2019; if not, the reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22837/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

128. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a school (details supplied) will be provided with temporary prefabricated buildings for accommodation on site if works on the school are not completed; if not, the reason; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22838/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

129. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the work on a school (details supplied) will be finished. [22839/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 126 to 129, inclusive, together.

The Deputy will be aware that last October and November my Department carried out initial structural assessments into 42 schools constructed by a particular contractor. In 22 of these schools precautionary measures were implemented to enable continued safe occupation and part of the school to which the Deputy refers was closed following the identification of significant structural issues.

Precautionary measures were not required at the school referred to by the Deputy as the school was closed.

Following on from the initial assessments, which were based on sample opening up works, my Department initiated a second phase of detailed investigations for the schools on the 18th of January last. This next phase of the programme is focusing initially on the 22 schools that have precautionary measures in place and also at the school to which the Deputy refers, which remains partly closed.

The purpose of these investigations is to determine the type and extent of structural issues in each individual school and, from the technical information gathered by the appointed structural engineers, to design permanent remediation solutions for delivery where these are needed.

In line with the update published by my Department in January, detailed structural investigations have now been completed in all of the 22 schools with precautionary measures in place and at the school in question.

The school referred to is different from the schools with precautionary measures in place in that the nature and extent of the issues there are such that the building under investigation was required to close. The school remains operational in another building on site.

Detailed investigations have concluded in the closed building and engineers are working to design solutions. When these are known, a programme of works to remediate the building will be put in place for implementation.

When the works programme is available, the details will be first shared at meetings with the Patrons and the schools involved. Arrangements are being put in place, for such meetings with the Patrons and the School Authorities of the 22 schools, including Ardgillan which has been scheduled in June.

This is an Education and Training Board school. Pending the delivery of the remediation work, my Department will ensure, in continued consultation with the ETB, that any interim accommodations needs at the school are met. In this regard, 2 additional temporary classrooms, a woodwork room and prep area together with a disabled access toilet have been approved for September 2019.