Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (256)

Micheál Martin

Ceist:

256. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the recent planning rejection for a school (details supplied); his plans regarding same; if he will meet the board of management; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23617/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under my Department’s Design and Build programme. 

Following the invalidation of the Planning application, Department officials met with Cork County Council on 31 May and it was agreed that an Environmental impact screening report would be completed prior to re-lodging planning permission.

The completion of this report will be completed later this month and a new planning application will be submitted. My Department has not received a request to meet with the schools Board's of Management but my officials will be in contact with the Board’s of Management when the application is ready to be submitted.

School Transport Provision

Ceisteanna (257)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

257. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when funding will be provided following approval of a transport place for a person (details supplied) in order that the person can be transported from the residence to the education setting and supporting the person's additional needs and requirements. [23625/19]

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 km 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 or can be 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.  At that point, the Department of Health/Health Service Executive assumes direct responsibility for young adults with special educational needs who are over 18 years.

In light of the above, the person referred to by the Deputy is not eligible for school transport under the terms of the School Transport Scheme for Children with Special Educational Needs.

Irish Language

Ceisteanna (258)

Brendan Griffin

Ceist:

258. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter relating to a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23652/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The purpose of the Irish and Bilingual Grant is to provide funding to schools for instruction through the Irish Language. 

The funding arrangements made by the Department for voluntary secondary, comprehensive and community and ETB schools and colleges reflect the different management and ownership arrangements that apply to schools at second level.

Voluntary secondary schools, in the Free Education scheme, which are privately owned and managed, are funded by way of per capita grants. These schools receive a grant in lieu of fees that had been levied prior to 1967. An additional per capita grant is paid to secondary schools in the voluntary sector in which instruction is through the medium of Irish in full or in part. The grant is not paid in either the Community and Comprehensive or the ETB sectors.

Financial allocations to the ETB sector are made on a budget basis in respect of head office and other costs, including those relating to schools. ETBs are given a high level of autonomy in the management and appropriation of their budgets and each ETB is allowed to distribute its allocations in line with its priorities and perceptions of need. Any funding issues for an individual school have to be managed from within the relevant ETB’s budget.  The Department does not earmark funding allocations for individual schools in the ETB sector.

The Department’s Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022 aims to ensure the availability of a high quality and relevant Irish-medium educational experience for all young people living in Gaeltacht areas and in this way to support the use of Irish as the main language of families and of Gaeltacht communities. Under the terms of the Policy, additional teaching and/or other resources, including dedicated continuing professional development (CPD), will be made available to schools whose applications to participate in the Gaeltacht Schools’ recognition process are approved.  It is envisaged that the allocation of resources will be on a staged incremental basis over a five-year period and will take account of the resources already allocated to each newly recognised Gaeltacht school in accordance with the language criteria set out in the Policy on Gaeltacht Education 2017-2022.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (259)

John Brassil

Ceist:

259. Deputy John Brassil asked the Minister for Education and Skills if grant or other funding is available to an Irish student (details supplied) undertaking postgraduate studies in the UK for the coming academic year 2019-20; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23655/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The main support available to students is the statutory based SUSI grant scheme. The scheme supported circa 78,000 students in 2018/19. SUSI grant funding for courses in Britain is limited to undergraduate courses only. Therefore, the course to which the Deputy refers is not eligible under the statutory based SUSI grant scheme.

Details regarding the student grant scheme can be accessed at www.susi.ie.

Tax relief at the standard rate of tax may be claimed in respect of tuition fees paid for approved courses at approved colleges of higher education including approved undergraduate and postgraduate courses in EU Member States. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners at www.revenue.ie.

Students attending UK colleges may also be able to apply for a student loan and/or other supports. Details of the supports available to students studying in Scotland is available at https://www.mygov.scot/student-finance-apply/overview/.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (260)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

260. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding an application for additional accommodation by a school (details supplied) in County Cork; if a previous summer works application to change the boundary is being considered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23740/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that the school in question has submitted an application, to my Department, for capital funding under the 'Additional School Accommodation Scheme'.

The application is currently under assessment, as soon as this process has been completed my Department will be in direct contact with the school authority concerned.

As the Deputy is aware, Summer Works Scheme 2020 onwards is currently open for applications.  I can also confirm that the school in question has a Category 10 application under the Department's previous Summer Works Scheme.  Schools that applied for category 10 works (External Works, e.g. upgrade and resurfacing of yards and car parking, etc.) under this SWS Scheme need not reapply for these works under the new scheme. It is intended to undertake an analysis of these outstanding applications later this year. This analysis, together with funding availability and priorities for the SWS in 2020 will determine the pathway forward in respect of these remaining applications for category 10 external works. It is open to schools with an outstanding category 10 application from 2016/2017 to submit an application for other works under this new scheme.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (261)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

261. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae 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. [23748/19]

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.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with.  Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.  

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday, 27 September 2019.

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.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (262)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

262. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans and the funding arrangements being put in place to ensure the provision of additional special needs classroom spaces in a school (details supplied); and his further plans and funding arrangements in place to provide permanent additional capacity for pupils in need of ASD classroom places. [23789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department’s capital allocation for the school sector in 2019 amounts to €622m. I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department has received an application from the school in question. The application is currently being assessed. As soon as the assessment process is completed a decision will be conveyed to the school authority. 

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) through its national network of Special Needs Organisers (SENOs) is responsible for planning and coordinating education provision for children with special educational needs including granting approval for the establishment and resourcing of special classes. 

Special classes for students with ASD are staffed with a lower pupil–teacher ratio of 6:1 at primary level and 6:1.5 at post primary level, and also have a minimum of two SNAs for every class of 6 children.

When the NCSE sanction a special class in a school, the school can apply to my Department for capital funding to reconfigure existing spaces within the school building to accommodate the class and/or to construct additional accommodation.  There are standard arrangements in place for the funding, design and delivery of these projects.

Other resources which are provided to schools to support children with Special Educational Needs, including Autism, include the following:

- Professional development for teachers.

- The National Educational Psychological Service

- Assistive technology.

- Access to the Special School transport scheme.

- Access to special equipment and furniture where required.

- Enhanced capitation grants at primary level

- Adapted school buildings/Additional accommodation

- ICT Grant for new classes

- Start Up grant for new classes

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

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (263)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

263. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to assist junior schools in Rathcoole, County Dublin, to provide required temporary classroom space for the 2019-20 school year; and if he will revise the capital plan for this school division to include an additional three classroom junior school to meet emerging need in the Rathcoole and Newcastle areas. [23791/19]

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 (GIS), using data from a range of sources, to identify where the pressure for school places across the county 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 an area. In that regard, as part of the demographic exercises, the Department engages with each of the local authorities to obtain the up-to-date data on significant new residential developments 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).

With this information, my 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 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 primary and post-primary school to be established in the Newcastle_Rathcoole school planning area as follows:

- 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 recently approved a further 2 additional temporary classrooms and toilets for Scoil Chronain NS Rathcoole to cater for immediate needs.

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 requirement for new schools will be kept under on-going review and in particular would have regard to the impact of the increased roll-out of housing provision as outlined in Project Ireland 2040.  My Department will also continue to monitor areas where the accommodation of existing schools may need to be expanded in order to meet the needs of the local population.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (264)

John Curran

Ceist:

264. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools that have language units attached to them to support children with a diagnosis of developmental language disorder; if there has been a reduction in the number of such units in recent years; his plans to increase the number of units to meet the needs of children with such a diagnosis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23795/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department provides an extensive range of supports for pupils with Specific Speech and Language Disorder (SSLD).  This includes provision for the establishment of special classes for pupils with SSLD in primary schools.

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, including applications to establish special classes for SSLD.  Applications meeting the criteria for establishment are approved by the NCSE. 

The NCSE continues to monitor and review the requirement for special class places in particular areas and has capacity to establish such new classes or retain current classes where necessary, subject to the willingness of schools to open/retain classes.  The NCSE welcomes expressions of interest from schools in opening special classes to meet the demand for special class provision.  In deciding on the location of a special class SENOs take into account both the present and the future potential need for special class provision, and they must also be satisfied that the special class is sustainable and appropriately located.  SENOs liaise with relevant professionals in their area to arrive at an informed decision. 

The number of SSLD classes for the 2018 – 2019 school year remains the same as 2017 – 2018 at 65.

The opening and retention of a Speech and Language class is, however, contingent on the HSE being in a position to provide Speech and Language therapy to the students in the class.  The availability and provision of speech and language therapy is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive (HSE).

School Staff

Ceisteanna (265)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

265. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills the arrangement he plans to put in place to address the urgent need of schools (details supplied) to each have a non-teaching principal position in view of the unique circumstances involved; if he will meet a delegation from each school to hear the range of problems being experienced and the need for positive action by his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23809/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The key factor for determining the level of staffing resources provided at individual school level is the staffing schedule for the relevant school year and pupil enrolments on the previous 30th September.  The staffing arrangements for the 2019/20 school year are set out in Circular 0019/2019 which is available on the Department website. 

The criteria for the appointment of an administrative principal to a school is set out at Appendix B of Circular 0019/2019.  In a similar manner to the staffing allocation, it is the enrolment of the school which determines whether a school is allocated an administrative principal.

In the case of both of the schools referred to by the Deputy, the enrolment requirement is 176 pupils on 30th September 2018.  As the schools did not have this enrolment at the time, they do not meet the criteria. 

It should also be noted that both schools were advised, at the time of amalgamation, that the amalgamated school would operate from the existing school sites.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (266)

John McGuinness

Ceist:

266. Deputy John McGuinness asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to fund two building projects at a school (details supplied); the original costs; the funding allocated; the details of the current proposal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23810/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm to the Deputy that the school, in question, has requested an increase in capital funding to expand the proposed project brief.

This request is currently under consideration.  As soon as the assessment process is completed, a decision will be conveyed to the school authority.

Teachers' Panel Rights

Ceisteanna (267)

Eamon Scanlon

Ceist:

267. Deputy Eamon Scanlon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a teacher's probationary year and position on the salary scale in another EU country is not recognised for the supplementary panel; if he will examine a case (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23828/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The core function of the redeployment arrangements is to facilitate the redeployment of all surplus permanent teachers to other schools that have vacancies. Thereafter, schools are required under the panel arrangements to fill permanent vacancies from supplementary panels comprised of eligible fixed-term (temporary/substitute) and part-time teachers.

Arrangements for panel access for fixed-term (temporary), substitute and part-time teachers to the Supplementary Redeployment Panel for the 2019/20 school year are set out in Circular 0078/2018 which is available on the Department website.

The service reckonable for access to the Supplementary Panel is service as a fully qualified teacher in a post paid for by the Department of Education and Skills, excluding previous permanent service, previous service as a post-primary teacher, incremental credit and unqualified service.  As such, incremental credit and earnings from teaching service abroad are not considered for access to the Supplementary Panel. 

Applicants must meet all of the published criteria in order to gain access to the Supplementary Redeployment Panel.

Oideachas trí Ghaeilge

Ceisteanna (268)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

268. D'fhiafraigh Deputy Catherine Connolly den Aire Oideachais agus Scileanna cén dul chun cinn atá déanta chun féachaint ar an gcaoi is fearr le foráil a dhéanamh i bpolasaithe rollaithe scoileanna a fheidhmíonn trí Ghaeilge do leanaí arb í an Ghaeilge teanga cheannasach an teaghlaigh mar atá luaite sa Phlean Gníomhaíochta 2018-2023; agus an ndéanfaidh sé ráiteas ina thaobh. [23850/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Faoi mar is eol don Teachta, rinneadh an tAcht Oideachais (Ligean Isteach i Scoileanna), 2018 a achtú i mí Iúil 2018. Is é cuspóir foriomlán an Achta creat nua a sholáthar i gcomhair rollaithe i scoileanna, agus é ceaptha lena chinntiú go gcaitear go cothrom le gach leanbh agus go bhfuil an bealach a ndeánann scoileanna cinneadh ar iarratais ar ligean isteach struchtúrtha, cóir agus trédhearcach.

Tá foráil san Acht, nuair a chuirfear chun feidhme í, lena gceadófar do scoil ina ndéantar an teagasc trí Ghaeilge, tús áite maidir le ligean isteach a thabhairt do dhaltaí a bhfuil leibhéal líofachta i nGaeilge acu, áit a mbeadh an baol ann go dtiocfadh meath ar an líofacht sin mura ligfí an dalta isteach i scoil Lán-Ghaeilge.

Ceapadh an fhoráil sin chun go bhfeidhmeodh sí laistigh den chreat iontrála níos leithne atá á chur i bhfeidhm faoin Acht Oideachais (Ligean Isteach i Scoileanna), 2018. Ina leith sin, tá mé tar éis a léiriú go bhfuil sé ar intinn agam tús feidhme a chur le forálacha eile an Achta, ionas go mbeidh feidhm leo maidir le hiarratais ar ligean isteach don scoilbhliain 2021/22.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018 was enacted in July 2018. The overall objective of the Act is to provide a new framework for school enrolment that is designed to ensure that every child is treated fairly and that the way in which schools decide on applications for admission is structured, fair and transparent.

The Act contains a provision which, when commenced, will allow a school that teaches through Irish to give priority in admission to students who have a level of fluency in the Irish language, where such fluency would be at risk of regressing if the student were not admitted to an Irish language school.

This provision is designed to operate within the broader admissions framework being put in place under the Education (Admission to Schools) Act 2018.  In that regard, I have outlined that it is my intention to commence the remaining provisions of the Act so that they will apply to applications for admission in respect of the 2021/22 school year.

Gaelscoil Issues

Ceisteanna (269)

Gerry Adams

Ceist:

269. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for Education and Skills the enrolment numbers needed to establish a stand alone Gaelcholáiste with a roll number and principal. [23877/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In the 20-Year strategy for the Irish Language - Action Plan 2018-2022, the Department of Education and Skills is the lead organisation on the action to provide opportunities to support the expansion of Irish-medium education in areas outside the Gaeltacht in the context of the establishment of 42 new schools in the period 2019 to 2022. In this regard, consideration is afforded to Irish-medium education provision as part of the new schools patronage process in relation to the establishment of Gaelscoileanna, Gaelcholáistí and Aonaid Lán-Ghaeilge (Irish-medium Units).

Following the April 2018 announcement of the establishment of 42 new schools from 2019 to 2022, my Department has developed a new Online Patronage Process System, which provides objective information and allows parents to express their preferences in relation to the patronage and language of instruction, i.e. Irish or English, of these new schools.  Parental preferences, as well as other considerations such as the extent of diversity of provision in an area (including Irish-medium provision), are key to the decision-making process and in relation to whether the school will take the form of a Gaelcholáiste or whether, if English-medium, the school would include an Irish-medium unit or "Aonad".  A lower threshold  may apply to the establishment of a new Gaelcholáiste compared to the usual threshold of 600 to 1,000 for English-medium schools but as a minimum it would need to indicate a demand of in the region of 350 to 400 pupils.

In relation to existing Irish-medium Aonaid, if enrolment numbers and output from any Irish-medium primary schools in an area increase to a level which would warrant the transition to a stand-alone Gaelcholáiste, the Department would be open to considering a case from the school patron to transition from an Aonad to a Gaelcholáiste.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (270)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

270. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the precise improvements planned for a school (details supplied); if a design team has been appointed under the ADAPT programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24017/19]

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. The project will provide new build, extension and refurbishment which will bring the school accommodation up to 16 mainstream classrooms and a 2-classroom Special Educational Needs Base.

This project is one of the school building projects on my Department’s ADAPT 2 (Accelerated Delivery of Architectural Planning & Tendering) 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 process to appoint a Design Team – (Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Civil and Structural Engineer, Mechanical and Electrical Engineer and Project Supervisor for the Design Process) for the school in question has commenced. The closing date for submissions in respect of design team consultants is Tuesday, 9 July on the eTenders website.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (271)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

271. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a design team has been appointed for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24018/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The delivery of a new building for the school to which the Deputy refers has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB). 

KWETB is in the final stages of the process of appointing a design team for this project. It is expected that this process will be completed by the end of June.