Departmental Shareholdings

Ceisteanna (186)

Catherine Connolly

Ceist:

186. Deputy Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will provide details of all entities in which he or his Department holds shares; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30182/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As Minister, neither I nor my Department hold shares in the entities under the Department's aegis, namely the non-commercial state agencies. While most of these agencies have a legislative underpinning, two (Skillnet Ireland and Léargas - The Exchange Bureau) are companies limited by guarantee, with no shareholders.

Schools Establishment

Ceisteanna (187)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

187. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the new post-primary school to serve the Blanchardstown West, Dublin15 and Blanchardstown Village, Dublin 15 school planning areas; if a patronage has been chosen for the new school; when he expects a principal to be appointed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30210/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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 800 pupil post-primary school (to be established in 2020) to serve the Blanchardstown_West_Dublin15 and BlanchardstownVge_Dublin15 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.

My Department has identified potential locations for the school and is currently working to undertake a detailed assessment of these. Once the location has been determined, the project to deliver the school accommodation can advance into the architectural planning process.

A patronage process is run after it has been decided, based on demographic analysis, that a new school is required. This patronage process is open to all patron bodies and prospective patrons. Parental preferences for each patron, from parents of children who reside in the school planning areas concerned, together with the extent of diversity currently available in these areas, are key to decisions in relation to the outcome of this process.

The patronage process for new schools is overseen by an external independent advisory group, the New Schools Establishment Group (NSEG). Following their consideration of my Department’s assessment reports, the NSEG submits a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision. The assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

An Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to all parents which will allow them to make an informed choice about their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education. Parental preferences were previously collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

The patronage process for primary and post-primary schools to be established in 2020 will commence later this year, significantly ahead of their due opening. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website (https://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

Once the patronage of the new school has been announced, the process to appoint a principal for the school can commence. My Department allows for appointments of Principals to all new schools from 1 September of the school year prior to the opening of a new school. The recruitment and appointment of teachers, including Principals, to fill teaching posts is a matter for the individual school authority, subject to procedures agreed under Section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998 (as amended by the Education (Amendment) Act 2012).

Multidenominational Schools

Ceisteanna (188)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

188. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of negotiations between City of Dublin Education and Training Board and Educate Together in respect of the delivery of a multidenominational co-educational second-level school for the Dublin 7 area to be based at a college (details supplied); if he has been approached in respect of the collaboration; his views on same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30211/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Cabra_Phibsboro_Dublin 7 school planning area is currently served by eight post-primary schools, including the school referred to by the Deputy which is currently under the patronage of City of Dublin Education and Training Board (CDETB).

This school, which has a current enrolment of some 120 pupils in the 2018/19 school year, is co-educational and multi-denominational in nature and provides for the local community and could potentially bring additional capacity of this nature to the area.

I understand that CDETB and Educate Together have started discussions in relation to possible partnerships with a view to Educate Together involvement at second level in existing schools in both the Dublin 7 and Dublin 12 areas. I am supportive of this initiative which has the potential to add to and enhance the availability of additional choice in these areas and my Department is engaging with the bodies concerned in this regard. This represents an opportunity to increase diversity of provision in existing schools in areas where a new school is not required.

I can confirm that CDETB and Educate Together have been working together in relation to extending the co-educational and multi-denominational educational provision at the school referred to by the Deputy in a partnership patronage arrangement. I understand that significant progress has been made in this regard and work is planned to continue over the summer period.

Departmental Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (189)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

189. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the contracts his Department and agencies under his remit are engaged in for the provision of security services; the name of each contractor; the procurement process involved; the duration of each contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30240/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information sought by the Deputy in regard to the security services contracts entered into by my Department is set out in the following table. Further information regarding contracts entered into by my Department’s National Educational Psychological Service will be forwarded by the relevant officials to the Deputy.

In addition, details of security service contracts entered into by bodies under the aegis of my Department is being collated and will also be forwarded to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

Location

Contractor

Procurement

Commencement of Contract

Duration of Contract

Dublin

Kennedy Consultancy and Security Ltd

Supplementary Request for Tender, inviting responses from members of the Office of Public Procurements’ Multi Supplier Framework

1st June 2019

Initial period of 2 years with the right to extend the term for a period or periods of 12 months with a maximum of 2 such extensions.

Tullamore

Keyguard Security

Supplementary Request for Tender, inviting responses from members of the Office of Public Procurements’ Multi Supplier Framework

5th February 2017

Initial period of one year with the possibility of 2 further extensions

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (190)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

190. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Education and Skills the requirement for additional expenditure in 2020 to meet demographic costs as outlined in the summer economic statement for his Department by programme; the expected allocation his Department will require as submitted to the Department for Public Expenditure and Reform; the specific resources required to fund in terms of additional staff recruitment, capitation and other current spending; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30280/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My aim for Budget 2020 is to progressively deliver on the commitments set out in the Programme for Government, the Confidence and Supply Arrangement and my Department's Statement of Strategy and Action Plan, and to meet demographic and demand pressures.

Over the past number of years, the Government has invested significant additional resources in education and training, which has delivered thousands of extra teaching and Special Needs Assistant posts in our schools, increased investment in higher education, expanded apprenticeships and traineeships, increased capitation in schools, enhanced supports for school leadership and improved the staffing schedule in primary schools.

In looking at the competing demands for the next Budget, I must have regard to the level of resources which will be available to my Department, in the context of the continuing need for the Government to prudently manage the economy and the public finances and have regard to risks, including those associated with Brexit.

The economic, fiscal and budgetary context for these decisions have been set out in the 2019 Summer Economic Statement, which was published on 25 June by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform. This includes a framework that involves a budgetary package of €2.8 billion for 2020, which includes €1.2 billion pre-committed for current expenditure, as follows;

- Demographics - €0.5bn in the areas of Health, Social Protection and Education

- The Public Service Stability Agreement - €0.4bn

- Carryover costs of certain Budget 2019 current expenditure measures amounting to €0.3bn in the areas of Health, Housing, Justice, Education and Social Protection.

The pre-budgetary position for my Department, including the allocation for demographics, will be confirmed when the 2019 Mid-Year Expenditure Report is published by the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform. My Department has not yet finalised its detailed 2020 allocation request, and will submit this to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the Estimates process for 2020.

It is in this context that I will formulate specific budgetary priorities, having regard to the views of the education partners and all concerned stakeholders.

Student Assistance Fund

Ceisteanna (191)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

191. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the allocations respectively in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019 and the expenditure outturn for each year, for the student assistance fund, the fund for students with disabilities and the programme for access to higher education in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30333/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Each year, the provision for access measures is allocated under the umbrella of the ‘Disadvantaged’ initiatives. This includes the Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH), the Student Assistance Fund (SAF), the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD), the HEA Access Office costs for Evaluation, Research and Development and Special Disadvantaged Initiatives.

The Deputy will be aware that some of the initiatives are demand led. For example, the FSD provides reasonable accommodations for students in need of additional supports. The cost of this measure can vary from year to year depending on the number of students requiring assistance and the type of reasonable accommodations required. As such, there is some scope to allocate monies between the initiatives to meet demands each year.

The allocation for the 'Disadvantaged' initiatives for 2017, 2018 and 2019 was €23.68m, €24.68m and €25.68m respectively. The bulk of the expenditure for the disadvantaged initiatives generally takes place in Q3 and Q4 to coincide with the start of the academic year.

The expenditure outturn for the 'Disadvantaged' initiatives was as follows:

Initiative

2017

2018

2019 (as of 30 June)

PATH

€4,400,000

€2,000,000

€0

SAF

€9,100,000

€10,100,000

€0

FSD

€9,600,000

€9,600,000

€3,300,000

OTHER *

€579,325

€579,325

€109,000

TOTAL

23,679,325

€22,279,325

€3,409,000**

*Evaluation, Research and Development and Special Disadvantaged Initiatives

**The bulk of the expenditure for the disadvantaged initiatives generally takes place in Q3 and Q4 to coincide with the start of the academic year.

The PATH programmes include multiannual commitments for various initiatives. The outturn for 2018 was lower than expected. This was due to a timing issue regarding the roll out of some of the PATH programmes. Monies have been provided for in 2019 for the roll out of these initiatives.

Student Universal Support Ireland Data

Ceisteanna (192)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

192. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of increasing the SUSI grant income thresholds by 5%, 10% and 20% respectively, for 2020; the estimated full-year cost of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30334/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Deputy will be aware that there are various income thresholds used depending on the type of grant, family size etc. While SUSI has statistics on those students who have applied for grant support and can estimate with some degree of certainty, what impact changes to the thresholds might have for those students on lower income levels, the accuracy of its estimates become less reliable at the higher income levels. Prospective applicants on higher incomes may not have applied for support as their income was above the relevant threshold. As such, it is not possible to accurately cost the number of additional students who may qualify for support, if the thresholds are increased.

Allowing for the limitations regarding the accuracy of the costings, it is estimated that a 5% increase in the income thresholds would cost in the region of €10m and a 10% increase would cost in the region of €20m. The cost of increasing the threshold by 20% is more difficult to estimate given the potentially large number of students who may benefit but who have not previously applied to SUSI for support. It is therefore estimated that a 20% increase could cost in the region of €50m.

The above figures do not include any changes to the income thresholds for the special rate of maintenance grants which are linked to long-term social welfare payments nor do they include any changes to the post-graduate income thresholds.

School Staff

Ceisteanna (193)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

193. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of improving the staffing schedule in primary schools to reduce class sizes by one point in 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30335/19]

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.

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

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (194)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

194. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first full-year cost of increasing the capitation paid to DEIS schools by 50%, by primary and secondary schools; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30336/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The estimated full year cost of increasing the capitation grant by 50% to DEIS schools at primary and post-primary level is €22.9 million.

I am pleased to have been able to provide for a 5% increase in capitation funding for primary and post primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2019/20 school year. Over the course of the school year 2019/20, an additional €10 million will be allocated to primary and post primary schools, of which €4 million will be allocated in 2019.

I fully recognise the need to further improve capitation funding for schools. However, I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures and I have to prioritise where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the Education Sector in any one year especially in the light of increasing enrolments.

It is my intention to seek funding for further capitation increases in future budgets.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Ceisteanna (195)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

195. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated first full-year cost of decreasing the pupil-teacher ratio in DEIS schools by one point respectively for both primary and secondary schools; the current staffing ratios for DEIS schools in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30337/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the criteria used for the allocation of teaching posts is published annually on my Department’s website.

In the 2018/19 school year there are 3,106 mainstream primary schools of which 698 (22.47%) are participating in the DEIS Programme.

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

Appendix A of Circular 19/2019 sets out the schedule of enrolment of pupils governing the appointment and retention of mainstream class teachers and is available on my Department’s website at the following link ;

www.education.ie/en/Circulars-and-Forms/Active-Circulars/circular-0019-2019-appendix-a.pdf.

In relation to post-primary schools, I wish to advise the Deputy that in the 2018/19 school year there are 722 post-primary schools of which 198 (27.42%) are participating in the DEIS Programme.

Each 1 point adjustment to the pupil teacher ratio at post primary level is estimated to cost in the region of €63m per annum.

A pupil teacher ratio of 19:1 is applied to all second-level schools in the Free-Education System. DEIS post-primary schools are allocated an enhanced guidance provision. The relevant Circulars governing the staffing arrangements for post-primary schools for the 2019/20 school year are available on my Department’s website at the following link:

www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Services/Teacher-Allocations/Teacher-Allocations-Post-Primary.html.

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (196)

Brendan Howlin

Ceist:

196. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of increasing primary and post-primary school capitation rates by €10 per child; the estimated overall cost of a 5% increase to capitation rates; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30338/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The estimated full year cost of increasing the capitation grant rate at primary and post-primary level by €10 per pupil is €9.4 million.

The first and full year costs of increasing the capitation grant at primary and secondary level by 5% is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

I am pleased to have been able to provide for this 5% increase in capitation funding for primary and post primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2019/20 school year.

I fully recognise the need to further improve capitation funding for schools. However, I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures and I have to prioritise where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the Education Sector in any one year especially in the light of increasing enrolments.

It is my intention to seek funding for further capitation increases in future budgets.