Teacher Recruitment

Ceisteanna (244)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

244. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if incremental pay scale credits will be provided for Irish teachers teaching outside the EU which take into account their experience and which would help encourage teachers to return here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29665/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The criteria for the award of incremental credit to recognised primary and post-primary teachers, including for teaching service outside the EU,  is set out in Circulars 10/2001, 29/2007 and 29/2010. These circulars were agreed under the auspices of the Teachers Conciliation Council (TCC). The Council is comprised of representatives of teachers, school management, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, the Department of Education & Skills and is chaired by an official of the Workplace Relations Commission.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (245)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

245. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a meeting will be organised between his planning officials and a group (details supplied) to discuss the planning application for a temporary school site on Main Street, Swords, County Dublin; if so, if the meeting will take place before the recess of Dáil Éireann in view of the short timeframe before the temporary school is due to open in September 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29666/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The planning application for the school to which the Deputy refers was submitted to Fingal County Council on 17 April, 2019 for development of interim accommodation within the grounds of the existing car park at 85/87 Main Street, Swords.  A request for Further Information received on 10th June, 2019 from the local authority is currently being finalised and a response is expected to be submitted this week.  Then a decision on the planning application is awaited.

My Department has been in contact with the school's patron body Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB) and pending the planning decision alternative arrangements have been made for the school to open in the Riasc Centre, Feltrim Road, Drinan in September 2019.  DDLETB have communicated this position to parents of enrolled children.

A meeting at this stage would not serve any useful purpose. 

Schools Building Projects Data

Ceisteanna (246)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

246. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of school building projects at stage 2a of the school building or extension process; and the details of the longest at stage 2a of the 20 projects and in the case of each one, when it was listed at stage 2a initially. [29695/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The status of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme was last updated on my Department's website on May 31st 2019. For the purposes of this response, the data attached reflects current status.  

There are 34 projects that are currently progressing through Stage 2a of Architectural Planning. Information in relation to when each of these projects began Stage 2a is contained in the following table.

COUNTY 

ROLL NUMBER

SCHOOL

STAGE  

DATE PROJECT MOVED TO CURRENT STAGE

Clare

17583V

SN Cnoc an Ein, Ennis

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

01/12/2017

Donegal

12077E

Scoil Naomh Fiachra, Illistrin

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

20/11/2017

Donegal

20096E

GS na gCeithre Máistrí, Donegal Town

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

10/04/2019

Donegal

76084L

Moville Community College

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

01/08/2018

Dublin 

18671A

St Michaels House Special School, Rathgar, D6

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/07/2015

Dublin 

19462T & 19463V

Naomh Maolruain (Jnr), Oldbawn, Tallaght, D24

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/09/2016

Dublin 

81002K

Mount Temple Comprehensive, D3

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

12/01/2018

Galway

18112K

Scoil Naomh Eanna, Bullan, Loughrea

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

29/04/2019

Galway

20070J 

Rosedale Special School, Renmore

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

05/07/2017

Kerry

09260B

Listellick NS, Tralee

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

01/05/2019

Limerick

19931F

Gaelscoil Sheoirse Clancy

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

01/10/2018

Meath

16100Q

St Joseph's Mercy Convent NS, Navan

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

08/03/2019

Meath

91508C

Boyne Community School, Trim

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

Aug-18

Waterford

65010R

Newtown School, Waterford City

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

08/06/2017

Dublin

68305S

Sandymount Park ETSS

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

06/03/2018

Dublin

20441S

Shellybanks ETNS 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

26/06/2017

Cork

62330U

Patrician Academy, Mallow, Cork 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

29/05/2017

Dublin 

20515V

Harolds Cross Primary School

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

27/06/2018

Dublin 

NO ROLL NO 

Harolds Cross Post Primary 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

27/06/2018

Dublin 

20514T

Cherrywood

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

28/08/2018

Dublin 

20445D

Malahide Portmarknock ETNS

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

03/01/2019

Dublin 

20530R

Dublin Donabate Primary school 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/05/2019

Dublin 

20519G

Dublin Donaghmede/Howth Primary School 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/05/2019

Dublin 

68346T

Dublin Donaghmede/Howth Post Primary School 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/05/2018

Dublin 

20531T

Dublin Newcastle/Rathcoole Primary

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

05/03/2019

Dublin 

NO ROLL NO 

Dublin Citywest/Saggart Post   Primary School 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

05/03/2019

Dublin 

NO ROLL NO 

Dublin Goatstown/Stillorgan Post Primary 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

07/05/2019

Meath 

NO ROLL NO 

Meath Enfield/Kilcok Post Primary 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

10/05/2019

Meath 

20546J

Ashbourne CNS 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

10/05/2019

Meath

20521Q

Meath Dunshaughlin Primary School 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

10/05/2019

Meath

20017F

Scoil An Spioraid Naoimh Laytown 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

08/12/2018

Dublin

20502M

Scoil Sinead, Pelletstown, D15

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/05/2019

Dublin 

68306H

Edmund Rice College Carpenterstown/Castleknock , D15 

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

14/05/2019

Limerick

68309N

Limerick ET Secondary School

Stage 2a (Developed Sketch Scheme)

25/02/2019

Schools Building Projects Data

Ceisteanna (247)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

247. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of school building projects at stage 3 of the school building or extension process; and the details of the longest 20 projects at stage 3 and in the case of each one, when it was listed at stage 3 initially. [29696/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The status of large-scale projects being delivered under the school building programme was last updated on my Department's website on May 31st 2019. For the purposes of this response, the data reflects current status on those projects.

There are 9 projects that are currently progressing through Stage 3 of Architectural Planning. Information in relation to when each of these projects began Stage 3 is contained in the following table.

COUNTY 

ROLL NUMBER

SCHOOL

STAGE  

DATE PROJECT MOVED TO CURRENT STAGE

Clare

70830N

Ennis Community College, Ennis

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

01/10/2018

Dublin

19545A/ 19636D

Corduff NS (St Patricks Jnr & Snr) Dublin 15

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

04/03/2019

Dublin 

20228S & 11776C

St. Laurence O'Toole Girls NS and St. Laurence O'Toole Junior Boys NS, D1

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

05/06/2019

Longford

19429V

St Christopher's Special School, Battery Rd, Longford Town

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

05/07/2018

Waterford

20116H

Glor Na Mara, Tramore

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

16/01/2019

Kildare

70700A

Maynooth Post Primary

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

01/04/2019

Kildare

76193Q

Maynooth Community College

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

01/04/2019

Kildare

76194S

Naas Community College

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

01/04/2019

Meath

76088T

Ratoath Community College

Stage 3 (Tender Stage)

01/10/2018

Note: This projects 70700A, 76193Q and 76088T are retendered where the previous contractor went into liquidation and/or receivership

School Funding

Ceisteanna (248)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

248. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of equalising school funding between voluntary, community and comprehensive secondary schools. [29699/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The funding arrangements in the Community & Comprehensive sector and the ETB sector are primarily based on budgets determined by the Department.  The enrolment in the individual schools is the main driver of the level of these budgets.

The funding arrangements in the Voluntary Secondary School Sector are based on per capita grants provided by the Department.  Some equalisation measures were introduced to rectify historical inconsistencies in the funding arrangements for this sector of post-primary schools. It is estimated that up to €21m has been provided in equalisation funding between 2001 and 2009.

The level of disparity in the funding arrangements between the sectors would need to be revisited to determine what remains to be done on the equalisation agenda.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Ceisteanna (249)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

249. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of reducing the pupil-teacher ratio to 21:1 in primary schools. [29700/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Budget 2019 marks the third year of a major reinvestment in the education. In 2019, the budget for the Department of Education and Skills will increase by €674 million, a 6.7% increase on last year.  In total, the Education budget will have increased by €1.7 billion compared to 2016.

Budget 2019 will see numbers employed in our schools reach the highest ever level. Over 1,300 additional posts in schools will be funded, including more than 370 teaching posts to cater for growth in student population and additional special classes.

For the current school year, the staffing schedule at Primary level operates on a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher (26:1) which is historically the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level. 

The 2018/19 school year saw an increase of over 6000 teaching posts in our schools compared to the 2015/16 school year.  

The Statistics Section of my Department's website contains extensive data in relation to our schools including pupil teacher ratios and teacher numbers. The latest figures in relation to pupil teacher ratios show an improved ratio of teachers to students from 16:1 to 15.3:1 at primary level when comparing the 2015/16 school year to the 2017/18 school year. 

Each 1 point adjustment to the primary staffing schedule is estimated to cost in the region of €13.5m per annum.

School Staff

Ceisteanna (250)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

250. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated annual cost of fully restoring guidance counselling. [29701/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Measures announced by my Department as part of Budgets 2016, 2017 and 2018 mean that 500 of the 600 guidance posts that were withdrawn in Budget 2012, were restored to schools from September 2018.

These 500 posts are allocated separately and transparently on each school's staffing schedule.  These posts have been ring-fenced so they can only be used for guidance activities and to meet the guidance needs of the school. 

The cost of restoring the remaining 100 posts is in the region of €6m.  This will be considered in the context of future Budgets, however there are needs across the system which have to be balanced in the decisions made in each budget.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (251)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

251. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills the position regarding school secretaries and caretakers being made direct employees of his Department; the latest engagement he has had with representative groups on the matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29705/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I recognise the very important work done by school secretaries, and indeed by other support staff, in the running of our schools and I am grateful to them for the contribution they make to our education system.  I have spoken to a number of school secretaries about their employment conditions and understand the issues they have raised.

I have recently relaxed the moratorium for those C&C and ETB schools with enrolments of 700 and more which allow them to employ an additional School Secretaries up to a maximum of two per school. There are 91 schools in the C&C and ETB Sector who meet this criteria, based on the information currently available to this Department. This is an initial step and has taken immediate effect.

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of Clerical Officers and Caretakers in schools.  The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008. 

These schemes have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes.  The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991. 

The majority of primary and voluntary secondary schools now receive assistance to provide for secretarial, caretaking and cleaning services under these grant schemes.  It is a matter for each individual school to decide how best to apply the grant funding to suit its particular needs. Where a school uses the grant funding for caretaking or secretarial purposes, any staff taken on to support those functions are employees of individual schools.  Specific responsibility for the pay and conditions rests with the school.

On foot of a Chairman’s Note to the Lansdowne Road Agreement, my Department engaged with the Unions representing school secretaries and caretakers, including through an independent arbitration process in 2015. The Arbitrator recommended a cumulative pay increase of 10% between 2016 and 2019 for staff and that a minimum hourly pay rate of €13 be phased in over that period.  This arbitration agreement covers the period up to 31 December 2019. 

The arbitration agreement was designed to be of greatest benefit to lower-paid secretaries and caretakers. For example, a Secretary or Caretaker who was paid the then minimum wage of €8.65 per hour in 2015 prior to the arbitration has from 1 January 2019, been paid €13 per hour which is a 50% increase in that individual’s hourly pay. 

Officials from my Department attended a meeting of the Joint Committee on Education and Skills on the 9th of April to discuss the status of non-teaching staff.

Officials from my Department recently had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives as part of a planned meeting. FÓRSA took the opportunity to formally table a pay claim. 

This was tabled as a follow-on claim from the current pay agreement for this cohort of staff which lasts until December 2019. The Department will seek to establish the full current cost of the trade union’s claim. This is standard practice.

FÓRSA's claim will be fully considered once the current costings have been determined on completion of a survey.  The Department is fully open to having further dialogue with FÓRSA once this work has been undertaken.

National Educational Psychological Service

Ceisteanna (252)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

252. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Education and Skills when an educational psychological assessment will be carried out for persons (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29707/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy may be aware my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) provides educational psychological support to all primary and post-primary schools. This involves direct support in the event of a critical incident, access to national and regional support and development work to build school capacity to support students, access to a NEPS psychologist for responses to queries arising, and access to individual pupil casework via a NEPS psychologist or through the Scheme for the Commissioning of Psychological Assessments. (SCPA).

In common with many other psychological services and best international practice, NEPS has adopted a consultative model of service. The focus is on empowering teachers to intervene effectively with pupils whose needs range from mild to severe and transient to enduring. Psychologists use a problem solving and solution oriented consultative approach to maximize positive outcomes for these pupils. NEPS encourages schools to use a continuum based assessment and intervention process whereby each school takes responsibility for initial assessment, educational planning and remedial intervention for pupils with learning, emotional or behavioural difficulties. Teachers may consult their NEPS psychologist should they need to at this stage in the process. Only in the event of a failure to make reasonable progress, in spite of the school's best efforts in consultation with NEPS, will the psychologist become involved with an individual child for intensive intervention or assessment.

This system allows psychologists to give early attention to urgent cases and also to help many more children indirectly than could be seen individually. It also ensures that children are not referred unnecessarily for psychological intervention.

I would advise that if there are concerns in relation to the educational or social and emotional development of the pupils instanced in the Deputy's question these should be raised by the parents, in the first instance, with the Principal of the school they are attending, with a view to the Principal discussing the situation, including the appropriateness of psychological assessment,  with the school's assigned NEPS psychologist or local NEPS service.

Emergency Works Scheme Appeals

Ceisteanna (253)

Peter Burke

Ceist:

253. Deputy Peter Burke asked the Minister for Education and Skills if an emergency works appeal will be granted for a school (details supplied) in County Westmeath; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school to which the Deputy refers recently submitted an appeal to my Department requesting a review of its application for funding under the Emergency Works Grant Scheme to address issues with the school building.  This review has been carried out and I am pleased to inform the Deputy that approval has been granted for the works.  The school authority has been informed of this decision and the project has been devolved to it for delivery.

School Accommodation

Ceisteanna (254)

Louise O'Reilly

Ceist:

254. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps he will take in view of the fact that the application for the provision of a primary school on a temporary basis at a location has been rejected; his plans to avert the crisis unfolding due to the rejection of the planning application; and if temporary accommodation will be available for new students to attend a school (details supplied) in August and September 2019. [29728/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The site location for the school to which the Deputy refers was identified in consultation with the Local Authority for interim accommodation pending delivery of the schools permanent accommodation.

The planning application was submitted to Fingal County Council on 17 April, 2019 for development of interim accommodation within the grounds of the existing car park at 85/87 Main Street, Swords.  A request for Further Information received on 10th June, 2019 from the local authority is currently being finalised and a response is expected to be submitted this week.  Then a decision on the planning application is awaited.

My Department has been in contact with the school's patron body Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board (DDLETB) and pending the planning decision alternative arrangements have been made for the school to open in the Riasc Centre, Feltrim Road, Drinan in September 2019.  DDLETB have communicated this position to parents of enrolled children.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

Ceisteanna (255)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

255. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the circumstances under which he would consider acquiring lands by compulsory purchase order for the purposes of delivering a new school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29732/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department does not have statutory Compulsory Purchase Order powers but Local Authorities have used their powers to assist in the acquisition of land for educational use.

While the CPO process has been used previously for school site acquisitions with the assistance of local authorities, it is generally only suitable when all efforts to acquire the site by agreement and the acquisition of all other viable site options have been unsuccessful. 

CPOs have also been used to overcome title issues associated with sites or access to sites. 

Special Educational Needs

Ceisteanna (256)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

256. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding a programme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29733/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I am fully aware of the excellent work of Down Syndrome Ireland, having met with a number of representatives from that organization last week (3 July 2019).

We had a very fruitful discussion across a range of issues affecting children with Down Syndrome in the education system, and I very much look forward to cooperating further with them into the future.

Regarding the "See and Learn" programme however, the policy of my Department is not to endorse particular educational interventions or initiatives above others in the absence of full evaluation.

My Department's policy aims to ensure that all children with Special Needs, including children with Down Syndrome, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in mainstream school settings.

Funding from my Department for special education provision in 2019 will amount to approximately €1.9 billion, equivalent to almost one fifth of the gross overall current allocation for education and training. The funding includes:

- Up to 15,950 Special Needs Assistant (SNA) posts in primary, post primary and special schools by the end of 2019, assisting children with special educational needs who also have additional and significant care needs arising from a disability.

- On 27th March I announced the trialling of the School Inclusion Model – a new model of support for students with special educational and additional care needs.

- The School Inclusion Model, supported by €4.75m funding allocated in Budget 2019, aims to build schools’ capacity to include children with additional needs and to provide other supports for pupils.

- The achievement of better education and life outcomes for all children including those with special needs is a key element of Government policy. In 2019, over €1.87 billion will be invested in Special Education, nearly one fifth of the overall Education budget, and up 49% since 2011.

- Seventy-five schools, both primary and post-primary, in Kildare, Wicklow and South Dublin have been invited to participate in this new package of education and health supports to be piloted and evaluated in the 2019/20 school year.

- One feature of the School Inclusion Model is the continuation of the In-school Therapy Demonstration Project which provides access to therapy supports for schools and students on a tiered basis delivered by qualified speech and language and occupational therapists.

- Another element of the pilot is an enhanced Regional Support Team for schools in the pilot, under the auspices of the National Council for Special Education, which will include speech and language and occupational therapists.

- As set out in my Department’s Circular 0030/2014, while it is appropriate for SNAs to assist students to access therapy support in school, or to assist a therapist in providing support for a child or assist the child to perform therapy tasks directed by a therapist, SNAs are not responsible for the management or provision of therapy services in view of the particular skillset required to deliver therapeutic interventions.

- Approximately 13,400 Special Education teaching posts in mainstream primary and post primary schools. Special Education teachers support the mainstream class teacher by providing additional teaching support for pupils with special educational needs in schools.

- Approximately 1,600 special classes in mainstream schools for the 2019-20 school year. The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) continues to engage with schools in relation to opening special classes where there is an identified need for special class provision.

- Included in the above special class total are 63 Specific Speech and Language Disorder special classes in mainstream primary schools

- 124 special schools providing specialist education for pupils with the most complex special needs.

- The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports.  The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

- The NCSE Support Service provides advice and support to schools on the education and inclusion of students with special educational needs, providing in-school support for support teachers, continuing professional development for teachers, and support to schools on the management of challenging behaviour.

- National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) delivers a consultative, tiered service delivery model to schools, in line with international best practice for the effective and efficient delivery of educational psychological services that best meet the needs of all pupils/students in schools.  This service delivery model allows NEPS psychologists to support schools to provide an effective continuum of support to meet the needs of pupils/students.

- Assistive technology/specialised equipment where it is essential in order for students to access the curriculum, in accordance with the criteria as set out in DES Circular 0010/2013

- Enhanced capitation for special schools and special classes. 

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (257)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

257. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of planning applications in respect of each new school to open in September 2019. [29789/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The following table outlines the current position of the status of planning applications in respect of 12 new schools commencing enrolment this September where planning applications for interim accommodation was required.

School Planning Area

Interim Accommodation Location

Planning Status

Primary Schools

Dunshaughlin

Dunshaughlin GAA                                       

Granted

Glasheen_CorkCity/Pouladuff

ETB building at Colaiste Stiofan Naoife, Tramore Road

Refused - Alternative arrangements confirmed

Kilcoole/Newtownmountkennedy

Newtownmountkennedy Community Centre site

Granted

Killester_Raheny_Clontarf

Suttonians Rugby Club, Station Road, D13

Pending

Leixlip

Leixlip United/Leixlip Amenity Centre lands

Granted

Maynooth

School campus site at Moyglare Road

Refused - Alternative arrangements confirmed

Swords South

85/87 Main Street, Swords

Pending

Donaghmede_Howth_D13

Dublin City Council Site at Belmayne Avenue  

Pending

Goatstown_Stillorgan_DLR

Grafton House, Ballymoss Road, Sandyford, D18

Granted

Post-Primary Schools

Donaghmede_Howth_D13/Belmayne/Cloncollgriffin

Dublin City Council Site at Belmayne Avenue  

Pending

Laytown & Drogheda (Regional Solution)

Colpe West/Mill Road, Drogheda

Pending

Wicklow

Crinion Park, Wicklow Town

Granted

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (258)

Patrick O'Donovan

Ceist:

258. Deputy Patrick O'Donovan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will address a matter regarding the qualification allowance (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29798/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is not available in my Department.

Details of individual qualifications for teachers are assessed by the Teaching Council and once assessed and approved, the Teaching Council registers the teacher for the particular education sector e.g Primary, Post Primary and Further Education.  A teacher must be registered for the appropriate sector to be eligible to be paid as a qualified teacher.

The payment of qualification allowances to teachers being appointed to teaching posts for the first time ceased from the 1st February 2012. The full details regarding the payment of allowances are outlined in Circular 08/2013 which can be accessed on my Departments' website. 

DEIS Scheme

Ceisteanna (259)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

259. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the new DEIS classification process for selection of schools will be introduced; when the new schools will be included; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29799/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, my Department is currently undertaking data analysis in the context of resource allocation to match identified need, including the examination of variables known to be strong predictors of educational disadvantage.  All schools at both Primary and Post Primary are being assessed using the new identification model.  

This analysis is being carried out by members of the DEIS Technical Group which contains representatives of the Department’s Statistics and Social Inclusion Units, the Inspectorate and the Educational Research Centre. Work is ongoing by this group, including consultation with relevant experts. I am confident that the culmination of this analysis will facilitate the ultimate aim of matching resources to identified need and will allow us to target extra resources at those schools most in need.

Until this analysis is complete, it is not intended to extend the DEIS programme to any further schools.

The DEIS advisory group (which includes school management bodies and unions) was briefed in May by officials from my Department on progress and it is intended to schedule a further meeting of the DEIS advisory group for October this year.  

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (260)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

260. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the timeline for the construction of the new permanent building following the amalgamation two schools (details supplied) in view of the fact that planning permission has been granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29800/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project referred to by the Deputy is at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b (Detailed Design), which includes the application for statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been secured.

The Design Team has confirmed that it is working on finalising the Stage 2b report ensuring it will be a "Near Zero Energy Building" (NZEB) in compliance with the 2017 amendment to Part L of the current Building Regulations.

Upon completion, receipt and review of the Stage 2(b) submission, my Department will be in contact with the school regarding the progression of the project at that time.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (261)

John Curran

Ceist:

261. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Education and Skills if delays being experienced by a school (details supplied) to progress its school building project beyond stage 2B will be reviewed; the reason for the delay; the actions that can be taken to rapidly progress the project; the timeframe for the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29815/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will appreciate that all major school building projects under the Department’s Construction Programme are progressed through the various stages of architectural planning in accordance with the Department’s Design Team Procedures, Building Control Regulations and Public Works Contract requirements and that as the funding is exchequer funding the process and costs associated with any major project must be fully accounted for.

Design Teams must therefore be diligent in their preparation of the Stage 2(b) tender documentation in order to satisfy all regulatory bodies and my Department's Design Team Procedures. This results in minimising delays during further stages of the project.

The delays encountered by this project since it progressed to stage 2(b) can broadly be attributed to the following:

- Two Design Team Consultants (Civil & Structural Engineer and Mechanical & Electrical Engineer) have been replaced

- Changes in scope of works

- Site ownership issues

- Delays in securing statutory approvals 

- Additional Design Team fee requests due to changes in scope of works

- Requirement to upgrade design details to ensure that new school building is a Near Zero Energy Building (NZEB)

- Upon review by my Department of the Stage 2(b) report, which was submitted in June 2018, it was necessary to return as documentation was found to be incomplete.

- Upon review of revised Stage 2(b) report, which was submitted to the Department in February 2019, a Brief Change Request report was deemed necessary.

It was in the context of reviewing the revised Stage 2(b) report submitted to my Department that it was noted that the estimated Stage 2(b) cost plan had increased substantially from the approved costs at Stage 2(a).

In accordance with Department Design Team Procedures, where the approved cost limits have been exceeded, a Brief Change Report is necessary.

The Design Team is currently working on the required Brief Change Report. Upon receipt, review and approval of the Brief Change Report the Design Team will commence work on necessary adjustments to the Stage 2(b) documentation and arrange for the submission of a revised report.

Upon receipt and review of the revised Stage 2(b) Report my Department will revert to the Board of Management of the school with regard to the further progression of the project at that time.

Bullying in Schools

Ceisteanna (262)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

262. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the issue of bullying is not serious enough grounds to make alternative provision in school transport cases in which same has been requested; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29818/19]

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.

The purpose of the scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school. 

Children are generally eligible for school transport if they satisfy the distance criteria and are attending their nearest school.

Children who are not eligible for school transport, under the terms of the scheme, may apply to Bus Éireann for transport on a concessionary basis only.  Concessionary transport is subject to a number of conditions including that routes will not be extended or altered, additional vehicles will not be introduced, nor will larger vehicles or extra trips using existing vehicles be provided to cater for children who are not eligible; no additional State cost will be incurred. 

The terms of the School Transport Schemes are applied equitably on a national basis.

Departmental Expenditure

Ceisteanna (263)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

263. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount spent on tribunals, commissions of investigation and statutory inquiries in each of the years 2009 to 2018 and to date in 2019, by inquiry, tribunal or commission; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29832/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested is being collated by my Department and I will forward it directly to the Deputy when this work has been completed.

Home Tuition Scheme

Ceisteanna (264, 265)

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

264. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the supports provided to assist with socialising for children with a diagnosis of autism who are being home-schooled in view of the fact that this would be an important aspect of their education and development; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29851/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Seán Fleming

Ceist:

265. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children with a diagnosis of autism being home schooled by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29854/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 264 and 265 together.

The Deputy has clarified with my office that he is referring to my Departments Home Tuition Grant Scheme.

Home Tuition is provided as an interim measure until a school placement becomes available.

The scheme also makes provision for early educational intervention for children with Autism aged from 2.5 - 5 years who meet the scheme’s criteria.

In the 2017/18 school year 808 children between 2.5 - 5 years accessed Home Tuition.

All children must be enrolled in the primary school system, whether through placement in mainstream classes, in special classes or in special schools in the September prior to their sixth birthday.

In circumstances, where there is no school placement available for a child with Special Educational Needs, the Department can provide Home Tuition grant funding towards the provision of 20 hours home tuition per week as an interim measure until the NCSE confirms that a placement is available.

Applications can be made at any point of the school year, based on when the child receives a diagnosis and recommendation for a specialised placement.

In the 2017/18 school year 64 children over the age of 6 accessed Home Tuition.

It is not the case that the Home Tuition Grant Scheme mandates one-on-one provision. The Department has no preference from an educational perspective for one-on-one provision.

Subject to conditions, Parents are free to use the grant to engage tutors to deliver tuition in their home or pre-school providers to deliver tuition in a group / pre-school setting. Such arrangements are essentially between the parents and the relevant provider.

There are many reasons why parents might prefer grouped arrangements rather than home based provision. These include the social benefits that arise for children working in an environment with other children. My Department advises all parents of the option to enter into a group arrangement

Private pre-school providers or home tutors do not provide services on behalf of the Department and the Department has no contractual relationship with such providers.

The annual circular which outlines the terms and conditions of the Home Tuition Grant Scheme will shortly be available on my Department’s website for the 2019/2020 school year.

Education Data

Ceisteanna (266)

David Cullinane

Ceist:

266. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children in primary and secondary school and the number of students at third level respectively, in 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29880/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy is in the following table.

-

2017/18

2018/19

Primary (Mainstream and Special Schools)

563,459

567,772

Second-level

357,408

362,899

Third-level (Full-time Undergraduate and Postgraduate Enrolments)

183,642

n/a

Note

Primary and Second-level statistics are derived from the annual Census of all Department-aided schools.

The figure for Second-level does not include CORE VTOS or PLC enrolments.

Third-level data for the 2018/19 academic year is being finalised and will be available later this year.

Departmental Circulars

Ceisteanna (267)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

267. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a circular has been issued to schools to assist them with the phasing out of single-use plastics; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29976/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Earlier this year the Government approved a number of environmental initiatives proposed by the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. The Government decided that departments and public bodies will lead the way in reducing generation of single use plastics and waste. This decision recognises that the public sector must demonstrate its commitment to sustainable development and use its influence to persuade others of the changes required to reduce our impact on the environment.  

All education bodies, including schools, agencies, higher education institutions and education and training bodies are asked to implement these actions as part of our contribution to environmental actions and sustainability.

In the case of schools the Department communicated this requirement by notifying the school management bodies. 

Further communications will issue to schools in relation to alternative procurement options and reporting of compliance by schools which may be in the form of a circular, following consultation with the school partners.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (268)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

268. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department has ceased the purchase and use of single-use plastics; the public bodies and agencies under his remit to which he has issued an instruction to cease the purchase and use of single-use plastics; when the instruction issued; the bodies which have confirmed that they no longer purchase and use single-use plastics, respectively; the bodies which have not provided such confirmation to date; when they will confirm; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29983/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can confirm that my Department ceased the purchase of specific single use plastics before 1st January, 2019.

With regard to bodies under my Department’ aegis, the Deputy will be aware that there is a diverse and wide range of bodies under the education sector including:

- Non-commercial agencies

- Recognised schools

- Education Training Boards (ETBs)

- Higher level institutions. (HEIs)

All education bodies, including schools, agencies, higher education institutions and education and training bodies are asked to implement these actions as part of our contribution to environmental actions and sustainability. School Management Bodies were advised of these obligations also. The notifications to cease the purchase of certain single use plastics were issued between late December 2018 and January 2019.

Education bodies are obliged as public bodies to report to myself, as Minister, by end November 2019 on waste reduction and increasing recycling measures.

Student Grant Scheme Eligibility

Ceisteanna (269)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

269. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason there is no eligibility for grant assistance for a course that would allow for clear career progression but that is not classed as educational progression (details supplied). [30006/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the terms of the Student Grant Scheme, grant assistance is awarded to students attending an approved course in an approved institution who meet the prescribed conditions of funding, including those relating to nationality, residency, progression, previous academic attainment and means.

To satisfy the terms and conditions of the student grant scheme in relation to progression, a student must be moving from year to year within a course, having successfully completed the previous year or be transferring from one course to another where the award for the subsequent course is of a higher level than the previous course.

Under the progression/previous academic attainment criteria of the scheme, a grant will not be paid to a student for a repeat period of study on the same course, or for a different course at the same level, irrespective of whether or not a grant was paid previously.  The objective of this policy is to help as many students as possible to obtain one qualification at each level of study.

If the person to whom the Deputy refers is ineligible for a SUSI grant, there are some other options which could be pursued.

Students in third-level institutions experiencing exceptional financial need can apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. This Fund assists students, in a sensitive and compassionate manner, who might otherwise be unable to continue their third level studies due to their financial circumstances. Details of this fund are available from the Access Office in the college attended. This fund is administered on a confidential, discretionary basis.

Also, 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 postgraduate courses in EU Member States and in non-EU countries. Further information on this tax relief is available from the Revenue Commissioners on www.revenue.ie.

Schools Building Projects Data

Ceisteanna (270)

Aindrias Moynihan

Ceist:

270. Deputy Aindrias Moynihan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the tendered price and final build cost for each new school and school extension in counties Cork and Kerry over the past ten years; and the reason for variation in each case. [30033/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the Deputy in relation to schools in Cork and Kerry is not readily available.  However, I will arrange for this information to be forwarded directly to the Deputy shortly.