Friday, 6 September 2019

Ceisteanna (297, 300, 301)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

297. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to reverse staffing cuts to small schools with less than 86 pupils to 2011/2012 levels. [35217/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

300. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of additional teaching positions which would be required in primary schools to restore the appointment figures for the third and fourth mainstream teacher to the level they were at in 2010, that is, 49 and 81. [35220/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

301. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of primary schools which had a teaching staff of one, two or three teachers in 2010 and which have since closed following the increase in the appointment figures. [35221/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 297, 300 and 301 together.

Since 2015, measures have been introduced to improve the staffing of small 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.

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 decision making authority for a school closure belongs to the Patron of a school, and this is subject to the agreement of my Department. Any proposal to close a school must involve consultation with all of the relevant stakeholders, parents, teachers, students and local communities and follow decisions taken at local level. The Programme for Partnership Government contains a commitment that no small school will close without the consent of parents.  The information is not available in the manner requested by the Deputy.

The estimated cost of restoring the staffing schedule for small schools to pre-2012 levels would be €3.6 million per annum, approximately 75 posts..