School Costs

Ceisteanna (265)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

265. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the significant additional burden on parents of schools charging for new laptops or other digital devices for students in place of books; and the way in which he plans to address these additional costs. [30782/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The decision to use tablet devices is a matter for the Board of Management of a school.  Where the introduction of new technology is planned, consultation with members of the school community including parents is advised.  The cost and other implications must be fully considered by the Boards of Managements before a decision is made.

An advice sheet on the adoption of tablets in schools is available on the PDST-Technology in Education (PDST-TIE) website, detailing what tablets can offer a school, educational considerations, purchasing considerations and software.

It is a matter for the Board of Management of each individual school to decide on its own policy in relation to the use of textbooks in the school. Individual schools should adopt a cost-conscious approach to the selection of books in their classes. 

I want to give parents a strong voice in ensuring costs are always kept to a minimum.

Work on the drafting of the Education (Student and Parent Charter) Bill 2019 is close to being finalised and I intend to seek Government approval shortly for its publication. Under the Bill, each school will be required to prepare, publish and implement a Student and Parent Charter in accordance with national guidelines to be published by the Minister after consultation with the education partners. The charter legislation will include requirements for consultation and engagement with parents and students on matters relating to school life and will include provision for full transparency in relation to costs and the use of any voluntary contributions sought by schools.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (266)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

266. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of all school building projects planned for County Kildare at present; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30814/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of school building projects being delivered as part of the National Development Plan, including those projects for County Kildare, may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of the large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website. 

Departmental Data

Ceisteanna (267)

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

267. Deputy Denis Naughten asked the Minister for Education and Skills the different income streams directly paid by persons to his Department or agencies under his remit, such as motor tax; the number of persons making annual payments; the value of same; the number of payments made through staged or incremental payments; the value of same; the additional income generated as a result of payments being made on an incremental basis; if incremental payments are not available, the reason for same; the corresponding figures for 1999 and 2009; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30852/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

My Department does not receive any major income streams directly from individuals.  The Department's Appropriations-in-Aid are comprised primarily of superannuation contributions, additional superannuation contributions and certain EU receipts, including those related to the European Social Fund. 

My Department does not maintain information centrally regarding the income streams of our aegis bodies.  

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (268)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

268. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the progress of pre-tender qualification and site acquisition for a major school building project (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30862/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The major building project for this school is at an advanced stage of architectural planning, Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes the applications for Planning Permission, Fire Cert and Disability Access Cert and the preparation of tender documents. All statutory approvals have been obtained.

Following a legal challenge, authorisation to re-commence the pre-qualification process issued to the Design Team and school. This advert has recently closed and the Design Team is currently in the process of compiling a shortlist of contractors for tender stage. 

When the pre-qualification process for the main contract and reserved specialists contracts is complete, the project will then be progressed to tender stage.

A tender stage normally takes between 7 and 8 months to complete. 

Regarding the site acquisition, legal representatives for both parties are working together with a view to concluding the conveyancing. There continues to be progress on foot of close and intense engagement from all parties.   A number of amendments have been agreed between the legal representatives for the vendor and the CSSO.  These amendments have been incorporated into the draft Contract for Sale along with a number of other suggested amendments proposed for the sake of completeness.  The CSSO and the Vendor’s solicitor will, after having had an opportunity to consider all the points, arrange to meet with a view to finalising matters.

Project Ireland 2040 Implementation

Ceisteanna (269)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

269. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the capital projects which have been delayed under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; when these projects will commence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30881/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

With regard to the schools sector, my Department’s capital programme continues to address the challenge posed by a rapidly increasing school population. To meet this demographic challenge, during the course of 2019 over 80 large scale projects and 140 projects under the Additional Accommodation Scheme will be under construction.  Details on those projects and on all other school projects that are being progressed through the architectural planning process towards tender and construction are  available on my Departments website at www.education.ie.  The Department is also increasing its investment in higher education infrastructure; many of these projects are currently in the planning phase.   

The success of the schools building programme is predicated on the need to ensure that at any given time, there are sufficient number of school projects available to proceed to construction. If this is not the case, then there is the risk that capital monies made available for the purpose of accommodating children at primary and post-primary level, cannot be spent and that the State cannot provide for school buildings at maximum capacity.  This ensures that when some projects experience delays such as site issues, planning difficulties, design challenges, etc., other projects can be progressed.

The Department seeks to progress all approved education building projects to completion as soon as possible and works towards this objective in all cases.

Project Ireland 2040 Implementation

Ceisteanna (270)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

270. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills the capital projects which have commenced under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30917/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the deputy in relation to capital projects which have commenced under Project Ireland 2040 is currently being collated.  I will arrange for the information to be forwarded directly to the deputy shortly.

Schools Building Projects Data

Ceisteanna (271)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

271. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schools put in the school building capital plans for new schools or large extensions in each of the years 2011 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the schools built; and the status of each of the other schools in tabular form. [30930/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that the current status of large-scale building projects being delivered as part of the National Development Plan may be viewed on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly. In addition, a list of the large-scale projects completed from 2010 to date may also be viewed on the website. 

Project Ireland 2040 Expenditure

Ceisteanna (272)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

272. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills if expenditure estimates for capital projects under Project Ireland 2040 under the remit of his Department and agencies match projected cost requirements in tabular from; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30963/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the National Development Plan, my Department’s total capital allocation for 2019 is €941m of which €622m is allocated to the School Building Programme. As in other years, the Department will proactively manage its capital allocation across the various subheads and budget lines to advance its school building and other capital investment priorities. The specific amount to be spent by the Department on each project in 2019 will depend on progress during the year and availability of funds.  Project cost estimates and project delivery timelines are kept under review through the design and planning process and financial allocations are not definitively assigned to individual projects until the point of entering into a contractual commitment for that particular project. Therefore it is not possible to provide the tabular form requested by the Deputy.  However, it is important to note that the Department ensures that funding is available from within agreed capital allocations before entering into contractual expenditure commitments.

Schools Establishment

Ceisteanna (273)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

273. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to establish a new primary school for Carrigaline, County Cork; when the school will be established; the position concerning the patronage of the school; the location of the school; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31006/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government recently announced plans for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including a new 16-classroom primary school to be established in 2020 to serve the Carrigaline school planning area. 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.

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. 

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 will be collected based on direct engagement with patron bodies.

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 will submit a report with recommendations to me for consideration and final decision.

The patronage process for schools due to be established in 2020, including the school referred to by the Deputy, will be run later this year. Updates in relation to further patronage processes will be announced on the OPPS website and the Department’s website (www.education.ie).

The school will be established in September 2020 in suitable interim accommodation. My Department is currently identifying site options and a determination regarding the permanent location for the school will be made as soon as possible.

Third Level Data

Ceisteanna (274)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

274. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students attending third level colleges in which courses are provided that qualify for tax relief on tuition fees in each of the years since 2015; the number who paid fees in excess of the student contribution charge; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31012/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I refer the Deputy to the below estimated number of students paying in excess of the student contribution charge since 2015.  The numbers calculated are based on the total number of undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in publicly funded institutions; less the students eligible for free fees who would be paying the Student Contribution charge.  The figures also excludes students who have the contribution paid for them in full or part by SUSI, through their eligibility for the Student Support Scheme. The Student Contribution currently stands at €3,000 per student per annum.

 

2014/15

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

*Estimated Number of Students paying fees in excess of the Student Contribution

86,000

94,000    

96,000    

100,000

*The Deputy should be aware that these figures are estimated as some of these students may be in receipt of individual scholarships, bursaries or courses funded from other sources.

I would also advise the Deputy that my Department does not have details regarding the numbers of students in receipt of tax relief on courses.  All details in respect of tax relief are a matter for the Revenue Commissioners and the Minister for Finance. 

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (275)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

275. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of capital projects being undertaken by his Department; the final agreed tender price; the estimated cost of each capital project in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31073/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The information requested by the deputy in relation to capital projects is currently being collated. I will arrange for the information to be forwarded directly to the deputy shortly.

Capital Expenditure Programme

Ceisteanna (276)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

276. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Education and Skills the capital projects completed since 2010; the final agreed tender price for each project; the actual cost of each project; if the actual cost exceeded the tender price; the reason therefor in each case in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31089/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Major school building completions across my Department regularly reach a yearly total of 40-50 projects.

In terms of providing cost details of all capital projects completed since 2010, this requires compilation of precise financial information in respect of 400-500 school building projects. The administrative burden upon my Department to carry out such a task is not warranted in the time available.

Therefore, I propose that the information requested will be forwarded subsequently to the Deputy in respect of all capital projects completed in the last 5 years. 

National Training Fund

Ceisteanna (277, 278)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

277. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount collected from the national training levy in each of the years 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the use made of this funding by types of course or programme, apprenticeship, traineeship, further education, third level, research and so on; the purpose of the fund; the evolution of its use over the past number of years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31133/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Robert Troy

Ceist:

278. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the expenditure under the National Training Fund between funding allocated to those in employment and funding for those unemployed on an annual basis over the period 2010 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the percentage breakdown of the funding between training for those in employment and those unemployed; the number of participants under the programme annually according to this same breakdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31134/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 277 and 278 together.

The National Training Fund (NTF) was established by the National Training Fund Act, 2000, as a dedicated fund to support the training of those in employment, and those seeking employment. The Act also provides for the funding of research to provide information on existing and likely future skills requirements of the economy.

The creation of the fund was announced in Budget 2000 by the then Minister for Finance to raise the skills of those in employment, to give jobseekers relevant skills and to facilitate lifelong learning. The NTF replaced the Apprenticeship Levy which was set up under The Industrial Training (Apprenticeship Levy) Act 1994. In May 2010, responsibility for the NTF was transferred from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Minister for Education and Skills.

During the recession, the focus moved sharply from training those in employment to supporting unemployed people back into the workplace. However there has been a fundamental shift in the labour market over the last 6 years with unemployment falling from a 16% high in 2012 to 5.6% in February 2019. This has been reflected in a changed and rebalanced suite of NTF-funded programmes to support the larger working population, to address the higher demand for lifelong learning as the influence of technology increases and to seek to address emerging areas of skills and labour shortage.

The NTF enables more flexible responses to changing economic/labour market conditions. As the economic climate has improved, expenditure on training for those in employment has increased with a corresponding reduction in expenditure on training for those seeking employment. This trend is evident from 2014 to 2018 and will continue in 2019.

Following a consultation process, the Government, as part of Budget 2018, decided to raise the rate of the National Training Fund (NTF) levy by 0.1% in 2018 to 0.8%. As part of Budget 2019, the levy was raised by a further 0.1% to 0.9% and by 0.1% in 2020 on the basis of the implementation of planned reforms.

An independent review of the National Training Fund was commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills as part of the package of reforms. This independent review, which was undertaken by Indecon, was published by the Minister for Education and Skills on 17 August 2018. The report made 14 specific recommendations across 4 key areas:

- Reform of the future direction of the NTF.

- Utilising the NTF to support investment in Higher Education.

- Enhancing enterprise engagement and input to NTF priorities.

- Improvements in monitoring/evaluation of the NTF.

An Implementation Plan to deliver the recommendations contained in the Independent Review was published as part of Budget 2019 along with details of a new advisory group to the National Skills Council in order optimise enterprise engagement on NTF priorities.

I attach a file showing the amount collected from the NTF levy and the expenditure as requested and the number of participants funded by the National Training Fund from 2010 to 2018, which is the information available.

Additional information is available in the recently published expenditure report available at the following link:

https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/national-training-fund-expenditure-report-2019.pdf

NTF

Skills Development

Ceisteanna (279)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

279. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of businesses that availed of enterprise training, workforce learning and upskilling services from Skillnet Ireland on an annual basis over the 2014 to 2018 period; the annual breakdown in participation in percentage terms by firm size (details supplied); the annual allocation to Skillnet Ireland in each year over 2014 to 2018 period; and the amount allocated in 2019. [31135/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Skillnet Ireland actively supports and works with businesses in Ireland to address their current and future skills needs. Skillnet Ireland fund groups of companies in the same region/sector, and with similar training needs, through training networks that deliver subsidised training to Irish businesses.

Skillnet Ireland networks arrange relevant, cost-effective and innovative training courses for member companies who operate on both a regional and sector-specific basis.  The Skillnet Ireland allocation increased in 2019 to €28m allowing for an allocation of €25.649m for Training in Employment and €2.351m for Training for the Unemployed.

The information requested by the Deputy is in the table. 

Skillnet Ireland - Member Company profile by business size

Year

Annual Funding

<10 Employees

11-49 Employees

50-249 Employees

>249 Employees

No. of Companies

2014

€15.69m

47%

30%

8%

15%

10,879

2015

€16.2m

52%

31%

12%

5%

12,861

2016

€16.2m

48%

28%

16%

8%

12,997

2017

€18.2m

51%

28%

15%

6%

15,012

2018

€21.7m

56%

26%

13%

5%

16,462

The above funding is received from the Department of Education and Skills via the National Training Fund.

The above data is extracted from the Skillnet Ireland Annual Reports for the financial periods ended 31 December 2014 to 31 December 2018

Adult Education Provision

Ceisteanna (280)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

280. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the Irish participation rate in lifelong learning in each of the years 2014 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the EU average rate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31136/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Attached are the latest rates for Ireland and the EU 28 average for adult participation in lifelong learning (formal and non-formal). 

Please note that there is a break in series for 2017, and it is not possible to compare the rates for Ireland in 2017 and 2018 with earlier years.

Data for 2019 has not yet been published.  

Figure 1.  Annual average lifelong learning rates among adults (25-64 years) 2014-2018

2014

2015

2016

2017*

2018

EU 28

10.8

10.7

10.8

10.9

11.1

Ireland

7

6.5

6.5

9

12.5

Source: Eurostat

*Break in series.  Data for 2017 and 2018 is not comparable with previous years.

State Examinations Data

Ceisteanna (281)

Catherine Martin

Ceist:

281. Deputy Catherine Martin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of post-primary schools in the past five years which have offered the option to study leaving certificate applied in tabular form; and the percentage of students completing post-primary education who chose leaving certificate applied in the period. [31191/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) programme is one of a number of options made available by my Department for Senior Cycle students which schools can choose from, based on the education needs and interests of their student.

Schools that choose to organise the LCA programme are entitled to an additional fixed allocation of 0.5 of a teaching post, over the standard allocation. There is no minimum number of LCA pupils required for schools to secure the additional teaching allocation from my Department.

My Department is committed to supporting this programme, which is appropriate for members of the student cohort whose needs, aptitudes and learning styles are not fully catered for by the other two Leaving Certificate programmes (Leaving Certificate Established and Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme). 

Revised module descriptors in English and Communications, ICT (Introductory Module and Specialism) and Mathematical Applications are being finalised and schools will be advised of details of their implementation soon.

The National Council for Curiculum and Assessment is currently undertaking a review of senior cycle which will comprehend each of the Leaving Certificate programmes, including the LCA. 

The details requested by the Deputy are as follows:

Academic Year

Number   of Education Organisations Offering Leaving Certificate Applied

2014-15

283

2015-16

280

2016-17

287

2017-18

288

2018-19

297

 

Leaving Certificate (Established   and LCVP)

Leaving Certificate Applied   Programme

Total Candidates

LCA as % of total

2014

54,025

2,964

56,989

5.20%

2015

55,044

2,887

57,931

4.98%

2016

55,707

2,758

58,465

4.72%

2017

55,770

2,773

58,543

4.74%

2018

54,440

2,709

57,149

4.74%

Teaching Contracts

Ceisteanna (282)

Brendan Smith

Ceist:

282. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the fact that teachers who disclose a disability may be excluded from the terms outlined in his Department's circulars and agreed with the education partners in accordance with section 24(3) of the Education Act 1998; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31198/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Under the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015, employers are obliged to make reasonable accommodation for staff with disabilities. 

 In the Education sector, the employer is the Education and Training Board (ETB) for those employed in vocational schools/community colleges, community national schools and is the Board of Management/Manager in the case of primary (excluding community national schools) voluntary secondary, community and comprehensive schools.

In accordance with the Education Act, the terms and conditions of employment of teachers employed in approved posts funded by moneys provided by the Oireachtas are determined by the Minister for Education and Skills, with the concurrence of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.  

The provisions regarding reasonable accommodation for teachers are set out in the ‘Terms and Conditions of Employment for Registered Teachers in Recognised Primary and Post Primary Schools’, Chapter 3, paragraph 16 of the Sick Leave Scheme.

This paragraph states:-

“The Employment Equality Acts require employers to take reasonable steps to accommodate the needs of employees and prospective employees with disabilities.  Reasonable accommodation typically involves some modification to the tasks/structure of a job or workplace environment, which would enable such an employee to fully perform their work role and enjoy equal employment opportunities. An employer will make reasonable adjustments for teachers who have a disability, or who have acquired a disability, to have reasonable accommodation made to facilitate their return to work. However, employers are not obliged to provide special treatment or facilities if the cost of doing so is excessive or disproportionate. The employer should explore in conjunction with the teacher and the OHS any appropriate enabling options, for example: (these examples are not exhaustive):

- Making reasonable adjustments to the school building and/or working space

- Acquiring relevant equipment or modifying existing equipment

- Partial Return to Work as detailed below”   

Details on Partial Return to Work are outlined in Paragraph 17 of the same publication.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (283)

Thomas Pringle

Ceist:

283. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a grant or other funding is available for parents of children with autism who wish to avail of early intervention services privately. [31221/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

It is understood that the question relates to the provision of services provided by the HSE. The provision of health related services including Early Intervention services, for example, Speech and Language Therapy, are under the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Health with the services provided by the Health Service Executive (HSE).  Questions in relation to the provision of such services should therefore be referred to the Department of Health and the HSE. 

My Department does not provide grants or funding for Parents to engage private Health services.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (284)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

284. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the steps and timelines for a new school build (details supplied) in County Kildare; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31264/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy has been recently informed, it is premature at this juncture to give a timeline for the delivery of the new building to replace the school to which he refers.  A new site is required for the replacement building and my Department has commenced the site identification process.   When a suitable site is identified and agreed for purchase, architectural planning for the new building has to be undertaken and planning permission sought.  Then the project has to be tendered for construction.  I can again assure the Deputy that my Department is making every effort to progress the site identification.

Schools Establishment

Ceisteanna (285)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

285. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of each of the 42 new schools announced in April 2018, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31265/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In April 2018, the Government announced plans to establish 42 new schools over the 4 year period 2019 to 2022. Twenty-six of these are at primary level and 16 at post-primary level. In addition, following a review of provision at primary school level in Ashbourne, a new 16 classroom primary school was announced to be established from September 2019.

For each new school announced, arrangements have or are being put in place for the provision of accommodation and a patronage process has or will be undertaken in relation to the patronage of these schools.

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 in respect of the four post-primary schools and 14 primary schools to be established in 2019 has concluded. The patronage process for schools to be established in 2020 will commence later in 2019. There will be further patronage processes for the remainder of the new schools announced. 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).

The schools are being established in interim accommodation initially pending permanent accommodation solutions being put in place. My Department’s Design and Build Programme will be the main delivery mechanism for providing permanent accommodation for the 43 new schools.

The current status of large-scale projects, including the 43 new schools, being delivered under the school building programme may be viewed in tabular format on my Department's website, www.education.ie and this information is updated regularly.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Ceisteanna (286)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

286. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated full year cost of implementing one point reductions in average class size at primary level. [31266/19]

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.

Pupil-Teacher Ratio

Ceisteanna (287)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

287. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated full year cost of implementing one point reductions in the average class size at post-primary level. [31267/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Teacher allocations to all second level schools are approved annually by my Department in accordance with established rules based on recognised pupil enrolment and are available on the Department's website. A pupil teacher ratio (ptr) of 19:1 is applied to all second-level schools in the Free-Education System.  A ptr of 23:1 is applied to the 52 schools in the fee-charging sector.

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

School Staff

Ceisteanna (288)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

288. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the cost of restoring the pre-2012 staffing and retention schedule for schools with four or fewer teachers. [31268/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Budget 2012 increased the appointment and retention ratios for small schools, i.e. schools with four classroom teachers or fewer.

Since 2015, measures have been introduced to improve the staffing of these schools which has seen improvements in the appointment and retention thresholds for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th classroom teacher and more favourable enrolment thresholds for one teacher schools situated 8km or more from the nearest school of the same type of patronage and/or language of instruction.

Budget 2017 announced two adjustments in relation to one teacher schools. Where the school is the sole primary school on an island the school will be able to appoint a second teacher.  In relation to single teacher schools generally with an enrolment of 15 or more pupils the school can apply to the staffing appeal board for a second post where the single teacher has children across 6 or more class groups. 

Small schools have also benefitted from the 1 point improvement to the primary staffing schedule for all schools implemented in 2016 and again in 2018.  The staffing schedule at primary level currently operates on a general average of 26 pupils to every 1 teacher which is historically the lowest ever allocation ratio at primary level.

In addition, the staffing process includes an appeals mechanism for schools to submit a staffing appeal under certain criteria, including a specific appeal measure for small schools, to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board.

The estimated cost of restoring the staffing schedule for small schools to pre-2012 levels would be €1.1million in the first year, and €3.4 million for the full year.

Minor Works Scheme Data

Ceisteanna (289)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

289. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the amount allocated to schools for minor works grants in 2018. [31269/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

A total of just under €29m was paid out from my Department under the Minor Works Grant in 2018 for the school year 2018/2019.