Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (290)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

290. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of a 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% increase in capitation grant to voluntary secondary schools. [31270/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I fully recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools.

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.  The first and full year costs of this increase is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 10% in Voluntary Secondary schools is circa €5.2 million. 

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 15% in Voluntary Secondary schools is circa €7.9 million. 

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 20% in Voluntary Secondary schools is circa €10.4 million. 

I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures.  Where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year I have to prioritise, especially in the context of increasing enrolments.

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

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (291)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

291. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of a 5%, 10%, 15% and 20% increase in capitation grant to community and comprehensive schools. [31271/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I fully recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools.

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.  The first and full year costs of this increase is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 10% in Community and Comprehensive schools is circa €1.6 million. 

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 15% in Community and Comprehensive schools is circa €2.4 million. 

The estimated cost of restoring capitation by 20% in Community and Comprehensive schools is circa €3.1 million. 

I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures.  Where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year I have to prioritise, especially in the context of increasing enrolments.

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

Capitation Grants

Ceisteanna (292)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

292. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of restoring capitation and related grants to primary and post-primary schools to pre-2011 levels. [31272/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I fully recognise the need to improve capitation funding for schools.

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.  The first and full year costs of this increase is €4 million and €10 million respectively.

In addition to the 5% increase above the estimated cost of restoring capitation to pre-2011 levels in primary and post-primary schools is circa €24.7 million. 

I must be prudent in the context of ongoing budgetary pressures.  Where it is not possible to do everything that I would like to do in the education sector in any one year I have to prioritise, especially in the context of increasing enrolments.

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

School Management

Ceisteanna (293)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

293. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the cost of changes to enable teaching principals to have one release day per week is in the order of €12.5 million per annum. [31273/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Since my appointment as Minister for Education and Skills I have met with a number of Teaching Principals, including at this year’s IPPN conference, and I appreciate the pressures they face. In Budget 2019, school leadership is again supported with an additional release day for teaching principals in primary schools and a further four additional release days for teaching principals in schools with special classes. These additional release days - 18, 24, and 30 depending on the size of the school - will be effective from 1st September 2019. 

This builds on measures in previous budgets, including €0.4 million made available in Budget 2018 to fund almost 4600 additional release days for teaching principals in primary schools. This funding provided an increase in the number of release days available to teaching principals in the 2018/19 school year to 17, 23 or 29 days depending on the size of the school.

Enabling teaching principals to have one release day per week would cost an estimated €7.5m per annum. 

Any additional increase in the number of release days will have to be considered as part of the annual budgetary process, alongside the many other demands in the education sector.

School Guidance Counsellors

Ceisteanna (294)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

294. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to restore remaining ex-quota guidance posts. [31274/19]

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.

Special Educational Needs Data

Ceisteanna (295)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

295. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to restore English as an additional language post to pre-2012 levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31275/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that DES Circular 0007/2019 for primary schools and 0008/2019 for post primary schools were published in February 2019. 

These Circulars set out the details of the model for allocating special education teachers to schools. 

Since the 2017/18 school year the new Special Education Teaching allocation provides a single unified allocation for special educational support teaching needs to each school, based on each school’s educational profile and also encompasses the Language Support (EAL) allocation that schools were allocated in previous years. 

Under this allocation model, schools have been provided with a total allocation for special education needs support based on their school profile.  

The provision of a profiled allocation is designed to give a fairer allocation for each school which recognises that all schools need an allocation for special needs support including language support but which provides a graduated allocation which takes into account the actual level of need in each school.

Under this allocation model, schools are frontloaded with resources, based on each school’s profile, to provide supports immediately to those pupils who need it without delay. 

It should be noted that this model of allocation introduced in the 2017/18 school year is not comparable to the previous model.  By using a broad range of attainment and socio-economic criteria, it is expected that generally, a school’s profile will remain relatively constant from year to year.  Each year, some students with additional teaching needs will leave and others will enrol, broadly balancing the school profile.

Further additional temporary Language Support is also provided, as necessary, to schools that have high concentrations of pupils that require language (EAL) support. At primary level, these allocations are made on the basis of appeals by schools to the Primary Staffing Appeals Board and at post-primary level to the Post Primary Staffing Appeals Board.

National Educational Psychological Service Data

Ceisteanna (296)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

296. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of employing an additional ten, 20, 50 and 100 new NEPS psychologists for special needs assessment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31276/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I can inform the Deputy that the average direct pay and non-pay cost per annum of employing an Educational Psychologist in my Departments NEPS service is €75,000 per annum. The estimated annual additional cost, therefore, of employing 10, 20, 50 or 100 psychologists would be; 10 posts - €0.75m,   20 posts - €1.5m,  50 posts- €3.75m and 100 posts- €7.5m .

Student Assistance Fund

Ceisteanna (297)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

297. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the student assistant fund allocation in the 2018/2019 school year. [31277/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Student Assistance Fund (SAF) provides financial assistance to students experiencing financial difficulties while attending third level. Students can be assisted towards the rent, childcare costs, transport costs and books/class materials.

The core allocation in 2018/2019 was €8.1 million.   An additional €1m was added to the Fund in 2017 which is specifically ring-fenced for part-time students who are lone-parents or members of the other access target groups. Prior to that the fund supported full-time students only.

In December 2018 specifically for the 2018/19 academic year, a further €1 million was added to the Fund for students attending Professional Masters of Education courses, who are experiencing financial difficulty.

The total 2018/2019 allocation for the SAF was €10.1 million.

Junior Cycle Reform

Ceisteanna (298)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

298. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will conduct a review of the common level junior cycle science course; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31278/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) will carry out a review of Science in Q3 2019, as this is when the first cohort of students will have completed the course.

The new Framework for Junior Cycle presents a dual approach to assessment that supports student learning over the three years of the junior cycle and also measures achievement at the end of those years.  The approach reduces the focus on one final examination and provides for formative assessment through classroom based assessments.

This change of emphasis arises from an acknowledgement that students learn best when teachers provide feedback that helps the student to understand how their learning can be improved.

The learning experiences provided in Junior Cycle aim to help all students achieve their potential regardless of their abilities and interests.

Students mature at different rates. Keeping subjects at a common level ensures that all students are treated fairly and impartially and that students are not channelled into a lower level of learning at too early a stage of their post-primary education.

Child and Family Agency Staff

Ceisteanna (299)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

299. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has discussed issues raised by a person (details supplied) in their resignation from the board of Tusla with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs; if his Department has examined the issues they raised; the result of the examination; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31279/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Child and Family Agency comes under the remit of my colleague The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.

Under Section 19 of the Child and Family Agency Act, 2013, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs appoints all of the members of the Board of the Agency.

I have not spoken to the person concerned in relation to the issues raised or their resignation from the Board of the Child and Family Agency.

Student Support Schemes

Ceisteanna (300)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

300. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the oversight conducted by his Department of the number of young persons seeking support and or counselling for mental health difficulties at third-level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31280/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Student services, which are an integral part of the whole student experience at third level, support students to achieve their intellectual, cultural and social potential while supporting and complementing the formal academic programme.  Student services can fall under a number of headings, particularly ‘Welfare and Guidance’ which includes counselling services and health promotion.  

In relation to the provision of these services within the institutions, the position is that my Department's provides recurrent funding to the Higher Education Authority for direct disbursement to its designated higher education institutions. The HEA allocates this funding as a block grant to these institutions, and the internal disbursement of this funding, including the funding of student services, is a matter for the individual institution.

Details of expenditure incurred in respect of counselling services in the third level sector are outlined below.  Data in respect of subsequent academic years is not readily available at this time.

 

Universities & Colleges (incl MIC, NCAD & St Angela's College)

IoTs

2013/14

€3,963,627

€2,038,106 

2014/15

€3,853,638

€2,185,196

2015/16

€4,185,682

€2,299,286

Apprenticeship Programmes

Ceisteanna (301)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

301. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to abolish student contributions for apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31281/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

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

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

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

Student Universal Support Ireland Data

Ceisteanna (302)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

302. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of students who received a SUSI grant for the 2017/2018 academic year; the cost of the provision of the SUSI grant for the year; and the estimated cost of a 1%, 5% and 10% increase in the SUSI grant. [31282/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

According to SUSI’s records, 77,495 students were paid a SUSI grant in 2017/18 at a cost of €362,900,084. This figure is made up of both maintenance and fee grants.

The cost of the maintenance grants in 2017/18 was €167,616,986. Therefore, applying a 1%, 5% and 10% increase to the maintenance grants would cost €1.7m, €8.4m and €16.8m respectively.

Third Level Funding

Ceisteanna (303)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

303. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills when the results of the economic analysis of the Cassells report on third-level funding referred to the European Commission will be made available. [31283/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Following a request from the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills for an economic examination of the three policy options proposed by the report on future funding of higher education (Cassells report), my Department engaged with the European Commission Structural Support Service throughout 2018 to ascertain the scope for the economic evaluation to be carried out with support from the European Commission Structural Reform Support Programme (SRSP).  The SRSP provides tailor-made support to all EU countries for their institutional, administrative and growth-enhancing reforms to carry out the analysis of the three policy options identified by the Expert Group. 

A formal application for support under the SRSP was submitted in October 2018 and subsequently approved by the Commission. Officials of my Department are currently working with officials from the European Commission to assist in finalising the detailed terms of reference for the review which will commence thereafter. It is currently expected that the evaluation will be completed in Q2 2020. 

Having this evaluation undertaken through the Commission’s SRSP will provide access to the type of independent international expertise and analysis that will be very beneficial to a major evaluation of this nature.

The Higher Education Authority (HEA) closely monitors the financial position of higher education institutions and in particular works closely with any institution that experiences financial difficulties in order to ensure appropriate mechanisms are put in place to eliminate any deficit as quickly as possible.

The Government’s commitment to higher education is clearly demonstrated by the increase in current spending on higher education of almost €350m since 2015. This amounts to an increase approaching 25% over the period. In addition, the Government has already committed to a five year programme of increased investment amounting to €300m, commencing next year, under the Human Capital Initiative. It represents a significant response to projected demographic pressures impacting on the sector over the next five years, as highlighted in the report on future funding. 

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (304)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

304. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of retirements and pensions started by staff in 2019; if these are in line with projections; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31284/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

In relation to staff employed directly by the Department of Education & Skills, 19 such staff  have retired to date  and are either in receipt of a pension or their pension is being processed by the National Shared Services Office who has responsibility for pension administration on behalf of staff at my Department. These numbers are broadly in line with Department projections.

In regard to retirements and pensions for the teaching and non-teaching staff employed by Primary and Post Primary Schools who are paid through the various payrolls in my Department,  applications for

retirement benefits in 2019 continue to be submitted and 1,200 have been received to date; in the region of 280 applications have been fully processed and work is on going in the Departments Pension Unit, to process the remainder of the applications. The number of applications for  retirement benefits for this group  are also broadly in line with projections.

Springboard Programme

Ceisteanna (305)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

305. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of the provision of 100 additional springboard courses. [31285/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Springboard+ which incorporates the ICT skills conversion programme, is a targeted initiative which is used to provide funding for higher education courses aimed at meeting the need for in-demand skills in the economy. Springboard+ supports jobseekers to return to employment and those in employment to upskill or reskill.

Springboard+ is funded through the National Training Fund, €34.4m has been allocated to Springboard+ 2019 providing for 9,151 places on 275 courses.

The cost of providing 100 additional Springboard+ places would depend on the NFQ level and the skills area of the course. The most recent costings available are in relation to Springboard+ 2017 which are attached.

Skills Sector

SB2017

Construction/Green Economy

3,883

Financial Services

5,092

ICT Conversion

6,684

ICT Part-time

5,043

Management/Business/Entrepreneurship

3,743

Manufacturing/Biopharmachem

3,824

Other Skills Areas

3,870

Cost per Place — Level 6 (€)

Skills Sector

SB2017

Construction/Green Economy

3,000

Financial Services

 - 

ICT Conversion

-

ICT Part-time

4,774

Management/Business/Entrepreneurship

3,012

Manufacturing/Biopharmachem

3,335

Other Skills Areas

3,544

Cost per Place — Level 7 (€)

Skills Sector

SB2017

Construction/Green Economy

-

Financial Services

2,400

ICT Conversion

-

ICT Part-time

4,689

Management/Business/Entrepreneurship

3,795

Manufacturing/Biopharmachem

3,453

Other Skills Areas

2,563

Cost per Place — Level 8 (€)

Skills Sector

SB2017

Construction/Green Economy

-

Financial Services

5,142

ICT Conversion

6,684

ICT Part-time

4,389

Management/Business/Entrepreneurship

3,793

Manufacturing/Biopharmachem

3,576

Other Skills Areas

4,750

Cost per Place — Level 9 (€)

Skills Sector

SB2017

Construction/Green Economy

4,325

Financial Services

5,516

ICT Conversion

-

ICT Part-time

6,417

Management/Business/Entrepreneurship

4,092

Manufacturing/Biopharmachem

4,836

Other Skills Areas

5,600

Third Level Charges

Ceisteanna (306)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

306. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of a reduction of €100 to the student contribution at third-level. [31286/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Student Contribution, which currently stands at €3,000, was introduced on a incremental basis from the 2011/12 academic year.  It is important to recognise that there has been no increase in the contribution rate since 2014/15.

Based on the number of students that qualified for free fees funding in the academic year 2017/18 (and were therefore liable to pay the Student Contribution), and taking into account projected increases in student numbers, it is estimated that the annual net cost to my Department of reducing the contribution by €100 is approximately €7.64million.

It should be noted that this figure encapsulates the resulting reduction to my Department's Student Grant Scheme budget, as the exchequer pays the contribution in full or part, on behalf of almost 50% eligible undergraduate students who are in receipt of student grant assistance.

Tax relief provisions are also available so that second and subsequent siblings do not have to bear the full cost. In addition, higher education institutions have provisions in place to allow students to pay the contribution in two moieties.

School Curriculum

Ceisteanna (307)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

307. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the specific learning outcomes for the draft primary mathematics curriculum; the rationale for this approach; the other countries in which a similar model is applied; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31287/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Strategy: Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life 2011-2020 called for a “learning outcomes” approach…to be incorporated into all curriculum statements at primary level. Since then, the NCCA has embarked on a review of the primary curriculum with language and mathematics being the first areas to be redeveloped using a learning outcomes approach.

It is generally agreed that Learning Outcomes are broad statements of what a learner knows, understands and is able to do after completion of learning. In the case of the draft Primary Mathematics Curriculum, the learning outcomes also set out big mathematical ideas for children’s learning. The outcomes represent a shift towards thinking about what children will learn rather than what is to be taught.

Learning Outcomes in the draft Primary Mathematics Curriculum will help teachers to:

- select what to teach and the best order in which to teach it

- choose the most appropriate teaching methods and learning tasks and experiences for the children in their specific classrooms

- improve assessment by linking methods to the intended Learning Outcomes thereby ensuring more authentic assessment

- provide more focused and helpful feedback to children.  

Sharing Learning Outcomes with children will help them to:

- be clear about what they are meant to be learning in maths

- monitor their own progress

- be able to take greater control of their own mathematical learning.

Based on international research as described in NCCA’s Research Reports 17 and 18, the overarching aim of the draft Primary Mathematics Curriculum, to which the learning outcomes contribute, is the development of all children’s mathematical proficiency. This proficiency encompasses conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, adaptive reasoning, strategic competence, and productive disposition. Mathematical proficiency has been adopted as a key aim in policy documents on mathematics in many countries, for example, the US (CCSSM/NGA, 2010), New Zealand (Anthony & Walshaw, 2007) and Australia (ACARA, 2009).

The NCCA will publish the draft Primary Mathematics Curriculum for junior infants to sixth class in 2020 for consultation.

School Transport Appeals

Ceisteanna (308)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

308. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of school transport appeals lodged to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31288/19]

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 School Transport Appeals Board is independent of my Department.  Under the terms of reference of the Board, the Board determines appeals against decisions made by, or on behalf of, the Department of Education and Skills regarding the provision of school transport services and/or grant-aid under the terms of the School Transport Schemes.

I can advise that a total of 94 appeals were lodged to date for the 2019 school year.

School Transport Data

Ceisteanna (309, 310)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

309. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of applications received for the school transport scheme in 2018; and the number of places provided. [31289/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

310. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of children provided with school transport on a concessionary basis through the school transport scheme. [31290/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 309 and 310 together.

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.

Throughout the course of the school year Bus Éireann continue to issue tickets and allocate seats to pupils once capacity exists on any given route.

For the 2018/19 school year there were in the region of 1,600 children who applied for tickets on a concessionary basis who were not allocated a ticket.

In the 2018/2019 school year there were over 28,500 children availing of school transport on a concessionary basis.

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

Departmental Communications

Ceisteanna (311, 312)

Thomas Byrne

Ceist:

311. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the oversight of his Department of circulars issued; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with circulars since 2016; if so, the surveys carried out; the results of those surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31291/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Shane Cassells

Ceist:

312. Deputy Shane Cassells asked the Minister for Education and Skills the oversight of his Department of directives, circulars, advice or requirements issued since 2016; if surveys have been carried out of compliance with these communications to date; the surveys carried out; the results of the surveys; the compliance rate; the actions taken by his Department following these results; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31323/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 311 and 312 together.

The Department of Education and Skills has issued a total of 285 circulars since 2016 – 81 in 2016, 84 in 2017, 84 in 2018 and 36 to date in 2019. All of these circulars are published on my Department’s website. A number of circulars are issued on an annual basis and thereby amend or replace the previous versions.

The circulars cover a wide range of topics such as school staffing matters, continuing professional development for teachers, curriculum developments and buildings issues. Circulars may be addressed to a variety of stakeholders including, for example, teachers, principals, school managers and Education and Training Boards.

Engagement with stakeholders on circulars can happen in a variety of ways. For instance, there are industrial relations fora set up across the education sector where issues arising from circulars may be raised. Education and Training Boards are required to comply with the Department's circulars. They are subject to audit by the Internal Audit Unit - ETBs to ensure, inter alia, compliance with the relevant circulars.

In the instance where a school inspector, in the course of an inspection, becomes aware of a school’s non-compliance with Departmental circulars, the inspector will bring the matter to the attention of principal and to the Board of Management as appropriate. The non-compliance may also feature in findings and recommendations section of the inspection report. Where serious and/or multiple instances of non-compliance are noted the Inspectorate forwards a memo on the non-compliance to the relevant section of the Department for their attention.

Non-compliance with the requirements of the Child Protection Procedures for Primary and Post-Primary Schools 2017 (circular 81/2017) are always referred to in a discrete section of the inspection report.

Climate Change Policy

Ceisteanna (313)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

313. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Education and Skills the recurring weekly meetings attended by either him or the Secretary General of his Department in 2019 at which climate change and or preparations within his Department to enact a climate plan has been an agenda item; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31339/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to advise the Deputy that my Department fully engages in any discussion relating to the Government's Climate Action Plan and will continue to participate in future discussions on the matter.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (314)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

314. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of planned works to a school (details supplied). [31450/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a Request for Tenders for the appointment of a Programme Manager and Design Team for the project has recently been issued by the NDFA.

While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (315)

Robert Troy

Ceist:

315. Deputy Robert Troy asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of planned works to a school (details supplied). [31451/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The project referred to by the Deputy has been devolved for delivery to the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA).

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that a Request for Tenders for the appointment of a Programme Manager and Design Team for the project has recently been issued by the NDFA.

While at this early stage it is not possible to provide a timeline for completion of the project, the NDFA will be engaging directly with the school authority to keep it informed of progress.