Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (168)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

168. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 541 of 23 July 2019, if the tender report has been approved; if the letter of intent has issued; if a letter of acceptance has issued; when construction will commence on site; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37078/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy is aware, the delivery of the Maynooth Campus project has been devolved to Kildare and Wicklow Education & Training Board (KWETB).

I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the tender report for this project has been approved by my Department. The Letter of Acceptance has issued and construction commenced yesterday. It is expected that the project will be completed before September 2020.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (169, 213)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

169. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 217 of 9 July 2019, if tenders have been invited for the project; if so, the closing date for receipt of tenders; when work will commence and finish on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37079/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

213. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 217 of 9 July 2019, if tenders have been invited for the project; the closing date for receipt of tenders; when work will commence and finish on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37295/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 169 and 213 together

The major building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is currently at Stage 2(b) – Detailed Design.

The pre-qualification process to select a short-list of suitable contractors has been completed and the Design Team is currently finalising the tender documentation.

Once this work is complete, my Department will be in contact with the Board of Management of the school regarding the progression of the project to the next stage of architectural planning, Stage 3 - tender stage.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (170, 214)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

170. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 218 of 9 July 2019, if tenders have been invited for the project; if they have the closing date for receipt of tenders; when work will commence and finish on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37080/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

214. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 218 of 9 July 2019, if tenders have been invited for the project; the closing date for receipt of tenders; when work will commence and finish on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37296/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 170 and 214 together

This building project referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

The major building project is currently at an advanced stage of architectural planning Stage 2b – Detailed Design, which includes securing Planning Permission, Fire Certificate and Disability Access Certificate and the preparation of tender documents.

The process of Pre-Qualification of contractors to compile a short-list of suitable candidates is now complete. The next step for this project will be Stage 3 – tender stage. In that context, the Department will shortly be in contact with the school and Design Team to update them on the further progression of this major building project.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (171, 215)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

171. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 219 of 9 July 2019, when phase 1 and 2 of the project will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37083/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

215. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 219 of 9 July 2019, when phases 1 and 2 of the project will be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37299/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 171 and 215 together

The school building project to which the Deputy refers is currently on site.

The first phase, consisting of the construction of the new 8 classroom school is due for completion in Quarter 4 2019. The second phase is due for completion in Quarter 2 2020.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (172, 216)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

172. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 279 of 21 May 2019, if there has been progress in finalising the project brief; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37084/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

216. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 279 of 21 May 2019, if there has been progress in finalising the project brief; if so, the details of same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37300/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 172 and 216 together

My Department is close to finalising the accommodation brief for the proposed building project at the school in question and will be in contact with the school authorities when this process has been completed.

Schools Site Acquisitions

Ceisteanna (173, 217)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

173. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 14 May 2019, if there has been further progress on the site acquisition; if a design team will be put in place for the three projects; the estimated timetable for the completion of the education campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37085/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

217. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 172 of 14 May 2019, if there has been further progress on the site acquisition; if a design team will be put in place for the three projects; the estimated timetable for the completion of the education campus; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37301/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 173 and 217 together.

Agreement in principle has been reached with a landowner for the acquisition of a site at Donaghcumper, Celbridge. As previously advised, there are technical considerations crucial to the delivery of the site and my Department continues to engage with the landowner and Kildare County Council on these issues in order to enable architectural planning to commence.

I can assure the Deputy that it is a priority for my Department to commence the architectural planning process for this site at the earliest possible stage. For the time being, and as previously indicated - given the commercially sensitive nature of site acquisitions in general, I am unable to elaborate further.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (174, 218)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

174. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 276 of 11 June 2019, if tenders have been invited from the short-list of contractors; if so, the closing date for receipt of tenders; the number of contractors from which tenders have been sought; when construction will commence and be completed on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37086/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

218. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 276 of 11 June 2019, if tenders have been invited from the short-list of contractors; if so, the closing date for receipt of tenders; the number of contractors from which tenders have been sought; when construction will commence and is expected to be completed on the project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37302/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 174 and 218 together

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

The Design Team is currently completing the prequalification process to select a short-list of contractors. De-briefing letters have recently been issued to the successful and unsuccessful applicants and the standstill period for the contract is currently ongoing.

When the standstill period has expired and the pre-qualification process is complete the project will then be progressed to tender stage.

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

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (175, 219)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

175. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 216 of 5 February 2019, if approval has issued for the provision of additional mainstream and specialist accommodation for the school in question; the details of the accommodation approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37087/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

219. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Education and Skills further to Parliamentary Question No. 216 of 5 February 2019, if approval has issued for the provision of additional mainstream and specialist accommodation for the school; the details of the accommodation approved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37303/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos.175 and 219 together

I can confirm to the Deputy that my Department has received an application, for major capital funding, under the Additional School Accommodation Scheme (ASA), from the school in question. Officials from my Department have been liaising with the school authority in the context of seeking additional information to support the application.

As soon as this information is received, the application will be given further consideration.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Ceisteanna (176)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

176. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of SNAs employed by his Department. [37092/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

At the end of the 2018/19 school year there were approximately 15,030 SNA posts allocated to schools. I announced on 27th May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with almost 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

Once the posts are allocated by the NCSE, the recruitment/employment of SNAs is a matter for school management.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Ceisteanna (177)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

177. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of SNAs employed by his Department on a full-time basis. [37093/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

At the end of the 2018/19 school year there were approximately 15,030 SNA posts allocated to schools. I announced on 27th May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with almost 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

Once the posts are allocated by the NCSE, the recruitment/employment of SNAs is a matter for school management.

Special Educational Needs Staff Data

Ceisteanna (178)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

178. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of full-time equivalent posts for SNAs allocated by his Department. [37094/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

At the end of the 2018/19 school year there were approximately 15,030 SNA posts allocated to schools. I announced on 27th May that 792 additional SNA posts will be allocated to schools for the beginning of the 2019/20 school year, with almost 130 additional posts expected to be allocated by December 2019.

By the end of this year, there will be up to 15,950 SNAs working in our schools, an increase of over 51% since 2011.

Student Grants Data

Ceisteanna (179)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

179. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of restoring grants for student teacher attendance at mandatory Gaeltacht courses. [37095/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The decision to stop the Gaeltacht placement grants was taken during the economic crisis when, unfortunately, very difficult decisions had to be made to stabilise the nation's finances. At the time, priority was given to protecting resources for front-line education services as far as possible.

The annual cost of fully funding the reconfigured Gaeltacht Placement on primary initial teacher education (ITE) programmes for 1,200 student teachers in the four state-funded providers is estimated at €1.8m per annum.

While there is no provision currently in my Department's budget for this grant or an element thereof in 2019, because of ongoing budgetary pressures which continue to be acute, the matter remains under consideration in my Department.

To assist with the costs of the Gaeltacht placement, students who are in receipt of a student grant which includes a 100% fee grant, or who would have qualified for a full fee grant but for the Free Fees Scheme, can apply for funding towards travel and accommodation costs under the field trip element of a fee grant, subject to the normal terms and conditions of the student grant scheme. Apart from this, in circumstances of particular need, students may apply for support under the Student Assistance Fund. Information in relation to this fund is available through the Access Officer in the third level institution attended.

School Services Staff

Ceisteanna (180)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

180. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of achieving full pay equality amongst SNAs and school secretaries respectively. [37096/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants. The starting salaries for a new entrant special need assistant and school secretaries paid on a public service payscale in 2012 was €20,869. As a result of the programme of pay restoration, the starting salary of these staff is now €23,999 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €24,602.

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the cost of and a plan in dealing with pay equalisation for new entrants to the public service.”

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjustment to new entrants recruited since 2011. The total cost of such an adjustment across the public sector is of the order of €200 million, of which Education accounts for €83 million. The report also acknowledges that, during the financial crisis, there were policy changes which affected remuneration in different occupations across the public sector (including education).

On 24 September 2018, an agreement was reached between the Government and the public services committee of ICTU in respect of new entrant pay. This agreement will benefit both 16,000 teachers and nearly 5,000 SNAs within the education sector. The deal provides for a series of incremental jumps for new entrants. The current series of restorative measures for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such engagement can bring.

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectorial issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants.

Specifically in respect of school secretaries, I recognise the very important work done by these staff, and the other support staff in the running of our schools. I have spoken to a number of school secretaries about their employment conditions and understand the issues they have raised.

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

Schemes were initiated in 1978 and 1979 for the employment of clerical officers and caretakers in schools. The schemes were withdrawn completely in 2008. These schemes have been superseded by the more extensive capitation grant schemes. The current grant scheme was agreed in the context of the Programme for Economic and Social Progress, published in 1991.

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

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

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

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

In May this year officials from my Department had discussions with FÓRSA trade union representatives as part of a planned meeting. FÓRSA took the opportunity to formally table a pay claim.

This was tabled as a follow-on claim from the current pay agreement for this cohort of staff which lasts until December 2019. The Department issued surveys on the 10th of July to establish the full current cost of the trade union’s claim. This is standard practice.

FÓRSA's claim will be fully considered once the current costings have been determined on completion of these surveys. In these circumstances any industrial action by FÓRSA members is considered premature, not least because the period of the current arbitration agreement has not expired. My officials are fully open to having further dialogue with FÓRSA once the survey work has been undertaken.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (181)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

181. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he has engaged with a union (details supplied) since it announced its latest intention to explore the possibility of industrial action. [37097/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Members of the TUI voted to accept the September 2018 new entrant pay deal and this agreement is benefiting 16,000 teachers within the education sector.

I am aware that the teacher unions have outstanding issues of concern following the September 2018 agreement. These outstanding matters will be given full consideration either by any pay review mechanism agreed by the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement, or in the context of the next round of pay talks. It is recognised that the positions of each of the parties concerned on these matters must be given due regard in endeavouring to reach a mutually agreed resolution.

The current series of restorative measures for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such engagement can bring.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (182)

Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire

Ceist:

182. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost of achieving full pay equality for teachers at both primary and post-primary level respectively. [37098/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The public service agreements have allowed a programme of pay restoration for public servants to start. The starting salary for a new entrant teacher in 2012 was €30,702. As a result of the programme of pay restoration, the starting salary of a teacher is now €36,953 and from 1 October 2020 onwards will be €37,692.

Section 11 of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides that “the Minister [for Public Expenditure and Reform] shall, within three months of the passing of this Act, prepare and lay before the Oireachtas a report on the cost of and a plan in dealing with pay equalisation for new entrants to the public service.”

The report laid before the Oireachtas on foot of this provision by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform assesses the cost of a further change which would provide a two scale point adjustment to new entrants recruited since 2011. The total cost of such an adjustment across the public sector is of the order of €200 million, of which Education accounts for €83 million. The report also acknowledges that, during the financial crisis, there were policy changes which affected remuneration in different occupations across the public sector (including education).

The matter of new entrant pay is a cross sectorial issue, not just an issue for the education sector alone. The Government supports the gradual, negotiated repeal of the FEMPI legislation, having due regard to the priority to improve public services and in recognition of the essential role played by public servants.

Minister McHugh is fully aware that the teacher unions have outstanding issues of concern following the September 2018 agreement. These outstanding matters will be given full consideration. This will happen either in the context of any pay review mechanism agreed by the parties to the Public Service Stability Agreement, or in the context of the next round of pay talks. The positions of each of the parties on these matters must be given due regard in endeavouring to reach a mutually agreed resolution.

The current series of restorative measures for new entrants have been achieved through continued engagement and collective bargaining between the Government and the public service unions and shows the benefits that such engagement can bring.

School Enrolments

Ceisteanna (183)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

183. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a person (details supplied) is on the waiting list of a school for the 2020/2021 academic year; if so, when they will be given a place; and the number of children ahead of them on the list for same. [37105/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The enrolment of a child to a school is a matter in the first instance for the parents/guardians of the child and the Board of Management of a school. My Department has no role either in making or deciding on enrolment applications to schools or keeping waiting lists. In these matters, schools are required to adhere to the requirements of relevant legislation and the policies of my department.

It is the responsibility of the managerial authorities of all schools to implement an enrolment policy in accordance with the Education Act, 1998. The selection process and the enrolment policy on which it is based must be non-discriminatory and must be applied fairly in respect of all applicants. Under section 15 (2) (d) of the Education Act 1998, each school is legally obliged to publish its enrolment policy.

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is a statutory body, the functions of which include planning and coordinating the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs. The NCSE, through its network of local Special Educational Needs Organisers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for special educational needs supports as required. The NCSE operates within my Department's criteria in allocating such support.

SENOs are available to assist parents/guardians to identify appropriate educational placements for children with special educational needs and to discuss their child's special educational needs. As you will appreciate, SENOs are guided by the information regarding diagnosis and the recommendations contained in the reports submitted. The NCSE has published a Guide for Parents and Guardians of Children and Young People with Special Educational Needs on Choosing a School; this guide is available on the website, www.ncse.ie.

The NCSE works in collaboration with the Educational Welfare Services (EWS) of the Child and Family Agency which is the statutory agency that can assist parents who are experiencing difficulty in securing a school place for their child or can offer assistance where a child is out of school. The local service is delivered through the national network of Educational Welfare Officers (EWO). Contact details are available at www.tusla.ie/get-in-touch/education-and-welfare/.

It should be noted that where a parent/guardian seeks to enrol a child in a school and that school refuses to enrol the child, the school is obliged to inform the parents/guardians of their right under Section 29 of the Education Act 1998 to appeal that decision to the Secretary General of my Department. Only where an appeal under Section 29 is upheld, may the Secretary General of my Department direct a school to enrol a pupil.

As the deputy's question refers to a specific child, the question will be forwarded to the NCSE for direct reply.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (184)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

184. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of a new school building for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37109/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

This building project is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

The project is currently at Stage 2B of the Architectural Planning process – Detailed Design Stage which includes securing statutory approvals and the preparation of tender documents. The pre-qualification of contractors process to compile a short-list of suitable contractors has been carried out by the Design Team.

The next step for this project will be Stage 3 – tender stage which normally takes 7-8 months to complete. My Department will be in contact shortly with the school and its Design Team regarding the progression of this project.

School Accommodation Provision

Ceisteanna (185)

Alan Farrell

Ceist:

185. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of the provision of a new school building for a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37110/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The building project for the school referred to by the Deputy is included in my Department’s Construction Programme which is being delivered under the National Development Plan.

This project is one of the school building projects on my Department’s ADAPT 2 (Accelerated Delivery of Architectural Planning & Tendering) Programme. My Department has completed the process of appointing a Project Manager for the ADAPT 2 Programme, which currently contains 16 school building projects.

The appointment of a Design Team (Architect, Quantity Surveyor, Civil & Structural Engineer, Mechanical & Electrical Engineer and Project Supervisor for the Design Process) for the school in question will commence in the coming weeks with the procurement process being carried out by the appointed Project Manager.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (186)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

186. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason a SNA will not be provided for a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37111/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) is responsible for allocating a quantum of Special Needs Assistant (SNA) support for each school annually taking into account the assessed care needs of children qualifying for SNA support enrolled in the school.

The NCSE allocates SNA support to schools in accordance with the criteria set out in Department Circular 0030/2014, which is available on my Department's website at www.education.ie, in order that students who have care needs can access SNA support as and when it is needed.

In considering applications for SNA support for individual pupils, the NCSE take account of the pupils' needs and consider the resources available to the school to identify whether additionality is needed or whether the school might reasonably be expected to meet the needs of the pupils from its current level of resources.

SNAs are not allocated to individual children but to schools as a school based resource.

SNA allocations to all schools can change from year to year as children with care needs leave the school, as new children with care needs enrol in a school and as children develop more independent living skills and their care needs diminish over time.

The NCSE Appeals Process may be invoked by a parent or a school where it is considered that a child was not granted access to SNA support because the requirements outlined in Circular 0030/2014 were not complied with. Schools may also appeal a decision, where the school considers that the NCSE, in applying Department policy, has not allocated the appropriate level of SNA support to the school to meet the special educational and/or care needs of the children concerned.

Where a school has received its allocation of SNA support for 2019/20, but wishes new enrolments or assessments to be considered, which were not taken into account when the initial allocation was made, they may continue to make applications to the NCSE.

The closing date for receipt of appeals in regard to SNA allocations is Friday 27 September 2019.

As this question relates to a particular child, I have referred the question to the NCSE for their direct reply.

School Patronage

Ceisteanna (187)

John Lahart

Ceist:

187. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the dates and timelines and other details of the patronage vote for a school (details supplied); when voting will take place; and when the outcome will be announced. [37128/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Government announced plans in April 2018 for the establishment of 42 new schools over the next four years (2019 to 2022) including a new 1,000 pupil post-primary school to be established in September 2020 to serve the Tallaght & Newcastle_Rathcoole (Citywest/Saggart) 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.

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. The application process for patrons to run this school has been completed.

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 Online Patronage Process System (OPPS) has been developed by my Department to provide objective information to parents and guardians which will allow them to make an informed choice in expressing a preference for their preferred model of patronage for their child’s education.

The patronage process for the new post-primary school in Citywest/Saggart is now open for parental preferences on the OPPS website and closes on October 4th. Updates in relation to the patronage process will be announced on the OPPS website (https://patronage.education.gov.ie/) and my Department’s website (www.education.ie).

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 assessment reports and the NSEG recommendations for all such patronage processes are made available on my Department's website.

Schools Building Projects Status

Ceisteanna (188)

John Lahart

Ceist:

188. Deputy John Lahart asked the Minister for Education and Skills the latest developments with regard to the proposed new building for a school (details supplied); the planned moving in date for pupils; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37129/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The school building project referred to by the Deputy is being delivered under the Department’s Design and Build programme. Planning permission has been secured and tender documentation is being prepared. It is anticipated that the project will proceed to tender in Quarter 1 of 2020, with a view to being on site in Quarter 2 of 2020.

School Transport Appeals

Ceisteanna (189)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

189. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the status of a Bus Éireann appeal by a person (details supplied); if the response from the company will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37141/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

School Transport is a significant operation managed by Bus Éireann on behalf of the Department.

In the 2018/2019 school year over 117,500 children, including over 13,000 children with special educational needs, were transported in over 5,000 vehicles on a daily basis to primary and post-primary schools throughout the country covering over 100 million kilometres at a cost of over €200m in 2018.

The purpose of my Department’s School Transport Scheme is, having regard to available resources, to support the transport to and from school of children who reside remote from their nearest school.

The School Transport Appeals Board, which is independent of my Department, 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.

An appeal was lodged with the School Transport Appeals Board on the 28th August 2019 in relation to the child referred to by the Deputy. The Board has requested School Transport Section to provide a report in accordance with the terms of the Board’s Operating Procedures. When received, the Board will liaise directly with the family regarding the appeal date and their subsequent deliberations.

Education and Training Boards Funding

Ceisteanna (190)

Róisín Shortall

Ceist:

190. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Education and Skills the resource allocation model in operation for distributing adult literacy funds to each education and training board; the specific criteria that applies; the specific weighting given to each criterion; and when the resource allocation model was last altered to reflect population changes. [37149/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

SOLAS distributes further education and training (FET) grants to the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) through a strategic funding process covering all of their further education and training programmes, including adult literacy. The ETBs annually bid for funding, in line with their individual three-year strategic performance agreement with SOLAS.

The funding process is governed by annual planning and funding parameters and requirements set by SOLAS following consultation with the Department of Education and Skills and other Government Departments. These planning and funding parameters and requirements reflect the 6 overall strategic targets set for FET provision. These targets form the basis for the individual ETB strategic performance agreements and, in the case of Adult Literacy, take cognisance of the recommendations presented in the FET Literacy and Numeracy Strategy.

When the overall budget for FET provision is set and the revised estimates process is complete, SOLAS give each ETB an initial funding envelope to plan against. This figure is reviewed annually in keeping with the individual ETB spending profiles.

In their individual annual planning processes, the ETBs are expected to build up their provision in line with their demographic and the identified needs of their learners, employers and communities.

The ETBs allocate funding at local level from their overall envelope of funding in accordance with their strategic performance agreement. Therefore the ETB has control on how much they wish to allocate locally to individual programmes including the adult literacy programme, which is covered under target 3 on social mobility and transversal skills development in the ETB strategic performance agreements.

The ETBs report to SOLAS three times per year. In the mid-year and September returns ETBs can request approval to change the structure of their allocation should, for example, the need occur to invest more in a particular programme. Thus flexibility within the structure of their allocation can be accommodated as local priorities emerge during the year.

Home Tuition Scheme Administration

Ceisteanna (191, 192)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

191. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason children better suited to a home tuition programme and engaging in same are being removed from this setting against their parents wishes and placed into units (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37154/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

192. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Education and Skills if policies (details supplied) will be reviewed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37155/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The policy of this Department is that all children with Special Educational Needs, including those with Autism, can have access to an education appropriate to their needs, preferably in school settings through the primary and post primary school network.

Such placements facilitate access to individualised education programmes which may draw from a range of appropriate educational interventions, delivered by fully qualified professional teachers, with the support of Special Needs Assistants and the appropriate school curriculum.

This policy has been informed by published research, including the Report of the Task Force on Autism (2001), the Evaluation of Educational Provision for Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) (2006) and National Council for Special Education (NCSE) policy advice on Supporting Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (2016).

The National Council for Special Education (NCSE) has a statutory function to plan and co-ordinate the provision of education and support services to children with special educational needs. The NCSE works with families and schools to ensure that advance planning is in place so that schools in an area can, between them, cater for all children who have been identified as needing special class placements.

The NCSE has a national network of Special Educational Needs Officers (SENOs) to assist and advise parents experiencing difficulty finding a suitable school place for their child.

Where the NCSE SENO confirms that there is no suitable school place available for a child, my Department can provide Home Tuition Grant funding towards a compensatory educational service for the child until a school placement is available.

By its nature, the grant is intended to be a short term intervention and should not be regarded as an optional alternative to a school placement.

The Home Tuition grant will not available where the NCSE confirm that an available placement has been identified to Parents.

Failure to enrol a child in an identified placement will not give rise to eligibility under the scheme.